The Woman in Cabin 10

by

Ruth Ware

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The Woman in Cabin 10: Chapter 21 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
As Lo nervously gets ready for dinner that night, she thinks about the “angry, idealistic girl” who’d dreamed of becoming an investigative reporter 15 years earlier. She wonders how she can look that girl in the face if she refuses to pursue the story that’s right in front of her. She decides she won’t “stop digging,” no matter her fears.
Lo reconnects with her youthful ambitions and decides she can’t give up on them, no matter how scared she is, and no matter how they might complicate the path she’s currently on. She deals with her anxiety for the sake of the crisis at hand.
Themes
Trauma, Mental Illness, and Resilience Theme Icon
Ambition and Compassion Theme Icon
Related Quotes
Karla knocks on Lo’s cabin door to remind her about dinner. When Lo mentions that she’s going to the police and promises to protect Karla if she shares any information, Karla looks upset. She says that Nilsson says that Lo is paranoid and attention-seeking, that she and the other staff need their jobs, and begs Lo not to make further trouble just because “perhaps someone let a friend use an empty cabin.”
Nilsson has been undermining Lo’s reputation with the staff. Karla can’t afford to lose her job and understandably feels threatened by Lo’s digging—she feels trapped in a way, too. It also sounds possible that she knows something more about the girl’s existence—or at least there’s a live possibility that someone could be smuggled aboard.
Themes
Entrapment and Isolation Theme Icon
Trauma, Mental Illness, and Resilience Theme Icon
Wealth and Power Theme Icon
At dinner, Bullmer has been called away to deal with an emergency, but Anne is there, with a dark bruise on her collarbone, which she claims she got from tripping in the shower. Separately, Lo chats with Alexander about Anne. He explains that she’s something of a recluse, after losing her parents at a young age and spending years in different parts of Europe. Then Cole joins their table, in pain from his injury and depressed over the loss of his photos. Lo learns that the photo she’d seen of the girl from Cabin 10 was taken at an exclusive London club, the Magellan.
Both of the Bullmers’ excuses sound a bit flimsy. Lo gathers more clues about the origins of the mysterious girl.
Themes
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Lo halfheartedly networks during the dinner. Afterward, Ben offers to walk her back to her cabin, and Lo accuses him of lying to her about his whereabouts the night before. He replies that he wasn’t lying; he just hadn’t thought of the fact that he’d left the poker game for his wallet at one point. Lo doesn’t wait for further explanation.
Lo’s attention isn’t primarily focused on networking for Velocity. Although it’s understandable that any half-truth or omission is upsetting to her, in her quest to find out what happened last night, Lo also seems to be rushing to judgment, suggesting the strain she’s under—no one can be fully trusted.
Themes
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Trauma, Mental Illness, and Resilience Theme Icon
Ambition and Compassion Theme Icon
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Lo is so distracted that she almost trips over Anne Bullmer as she rounds a corner. Anne, looking tired and gray, is leaning against the wall “as if steeling herself for something.” When Lo asks if she’s okay, her clipped accent breaks slightly as she says, “Sometimes it all just seems too much … Such a performance.” She then excuses herself to bed.
The encounter with Anne is puzzling, but Lo assumes that she is talking about the constant strain of being a society wife.
Themes
Entrapment and Isolation Theme Icon
Perception vs. Reality Theme Icon
Wealth and Power Theme Icon
Related Quotes
Ben reappears, hurt by Lo’s accusation and suggesting that she’s not looking at things rationally. Lo, furious, refuses to talk with him further and goes to take a shower. As she emerges, she looks forward to speaking to the police the next morning and then catching an early flight home, cutting the cruise short. Then she realizes her phone is missing. After searching her entire cabin, she notices a wet footprint near the veranda door. She goes outside and discovers that there’s no way to secure the sliding door—someone could enter from the outside at any time, meaning that her cabin can be accessed by anyone strong enough to climb over the privacy screen. She gets dressed and hunkers down on the couch for the night, knowing she’ll never sleep.
Ben gets too close to Nilsson’s earlier accusation for Lo to brush it off. She’s eager to put the Aurora behind her entirely and move on with her life. But then she makes the discovery that she’s never been able to secure her cabin completely, no matter how hard she tried. Her safety has been an illusion all along.
Themes
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A week later, an online “armchair detective” forum speculates on the identity of the body that’s been recovered from the North Sea. A poster who identifies himself as Judah joins the discussion and angrily shuts down insinuations about Lo’s mental state, pointing out that it’s still a missing person case.
The case of Lo’s disappearance is high-profile and becomes a focus of online discussion. Judah’s involvement reflects his care for Lo, as well as his refusal to jump to conclusions based on her mental health—unlike Ben and Nilsson.
Themes
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Trauma, Mental Illness, and Resilience Theme Icon