The Woman in Cabin 10

by

Ruth Ware

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The Woman in Cabin 10: Chapter 15 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Thinking back on her childhood, Lo reflects that there’s no concrete reason for her to be dependent on antidepressants; she’d had “nothing but love and support, but that wasn’t enough somehow.” The depression she’d fallen into as a young adult seemed to have a chemical basis that no counseling could cure.
By portraying Lo’s background as fairly “normal” and untroubled, Ware shows that mental illness isn’t necessarily a result of adverse life circumstances; it can be just one aspect of an average person’s experience.
Themes
Trauma, Mental Illness, and Resilience Theme Icon
Lo sees taking pills as something similar to wearing makeup—“not a disguise, but a way of making myself more how I really am, less raw.” She reflects that Ben saw her “without makeup” when they were dating, and she doesn’t blame him for breaking up with her. However, she’s furious about what he’s done now.
Ware further normalizes anxiety with a relatable comparison between medication and makeup. As difficult as anxiety can be, Lo seems to take it in stride as part of her life. However, she’s angry that Ben talked about her recent scare with Nilsson.
Themes
Trauma, Mental Illness, and Resilience Theme Icon
Related Quotes
Lo bangs on Ben’s cabin door and angrily asks him how he could have told Nilsson these things about her. Ben, distressed, tells her he’d been hungover and didn’t understand why Nilsson was questioning him about her. He asks Lo if something happened last night. Lo finally takes a deep breath and tells Ben the whole story. Ben says he believes her, having never known her to make up anything.
Though Lo is angry, she believes Ben when he says he’d felt cornered and hadn’t meant to sabotage her reputation with Nilsson. Despite their complicated history, she trusts Ben enough to tell him what happened, and it’s a relief for her to finally confide in someone she trusts.
Themes
Entrapment and Isolation Theme Icon
Perception vs. Reality Theme Icon
Trauma, Mental Illness, and Resilience Theme Icon
Lo agrees with Ben that Nilsson’s reluctance to believe her makes sense, since crime taking place in international waters is a gray area—there’s no clear police jurisdiction, so onboard security has an incentive to brush things under the rug. They speculate together about who could have swiped the mascara, and Ben encourages Lo to speak to Bullmer himself. He says he can vouch for Bullmer’s whereabouts all night, since they were playing poker along with Archer, Lars, and Chloe. Besides, Bullmer “seems like a decent bloke.”
Ben’s input makes sense—especially the fact that there’s only so far Lo can likely get with Nilsson—and has a calming effect on Lo. It also points to how helpless they really are in the middle of the ocean. However, his perception of Bullmer is based on a slight, casual acquaintance, not a genuine knowledge of his character.
Themes
Entrapment and Isolation Theme Icon
Perception vs. Reality Theme Icon
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Lo and Ben agree to meet after the scheduled morning activities so that they can question other passengers. Lo tells Ben she can’t stop dwelling on the horrible details about what the girl from Cabin 10 must have felt. Ben tells her not to let her imagination run away with her. Lo replies that she knows what it’s like when someone comes for you in the middle of the night.
Lo’s experience of the burglary enables her to sympathize with the missing girl on a visceral level. When Ben encourages her not to fixate on this, she takes it personally, because it’s as if he’s being dismissive of her experience, too. It’s that deep empathy that motivates Lo to keep hunting for a killer, no matter the cost to herself.
Themes
Entrapment and Isolation Theme Icon
Trauma, Mental Illness, and Resilience Theme Icon
Ambition and Compassion Theme Icon