The Woman in Cabin 10

by

Ruth Ware

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The Woman in Cabin 10: Chapter 9 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
After dinner, as Lo attempts to corner Bullmer, Cole abruptly takes a picture of her, and she stumbles against a sofa, spilling her coffee. Cole summons Bullmer for her in apology. Bullmer warns Cole not to take any photos of Anne, implying that she’s self-conscious about her illness. When he turns his attention to Lo, he gives an odd little wink, “as if he were trying to level what he knew to be an intimidatingly uneven playing field.” When someone calls Bullmer away, he quickly offers to speak privately with Lo the next day.
Lo continues to fumble her attempts at networking, and Cole’s brashness contrasts with Lo’s awkwardness. Bullmer again tries to give an impression of being something other than what he is, but Lo is so relieved at his offer that she doesn’t dwell on this.
Themes
Perception vs. Reality Theme Icon
Ambition and Compassion Theme Icon
Wealth and Power Theme Icon
By the time Lo stumbles back to her cabin that night, she’s very drunk. She knows she’s drinking partly because she’s afraid of another night of insomnia. As she’s fumbling to retrieve her room key from inside her gown, a drunken Ben looms over her and makes suggestive comments. Before Lo can stop him, he reaches down the front of her dress. Automatically, Lo knees him in the groin.
After several days of barely sleeping, Lo is at the end of her rope, and she responds ferociously to her ex’s intrusion.
Themes
Entrapment and Isolation Theme Icon
Trauma, Mental Illness, and Resilience Theme Icon
Twenty minutes later, they sit in Lo’s cabin, Ben still weak with pain and Lo weeping, telling him she’s going mad from the events of the past few days. She spills out the whole story of the robbery and her helplessness at the time. Ben begins to express lingering feelings for Lo, but she cuts him short and finally convinces him to leave. She almost relents to letting him sleep on the couch, but reasons that a ship at sea is “about the safest place I could possibly be.” After he goes, she gulps down another whiskey “like medicine” and falls into a sleep so deep, it’s “like drowning.”
Ben and Lo have a complex history; Lo doesn’t share the feelings her ex-boyfriend hints at, but she feels safe enough to confide in him. Though she tells herself she couldn’t possibly be safer than she currently is—an ironic statement, in light of coming events—she drinks a bit more to help herself sleep at last.
Themes
Entrapment and Isolation Theme Icon
Perception vs. Reality Theme Icon
Trauma, Mental Illness, and Resilience Theme Icon
A few hours later, Lo wakes abruptly, her heart pounding. She breathes slowly and steadily until she grows more relaxed, telling herself she’ll sabotage her career if she keeps drinking the way she has been. Then she wonders what caused her to wake up so suddenly. For some reason, she keeps thinking of a scream. Then, she hears the subtle sound of a door sliding open, followed by a big splash— “the kind of splash made by a body hitting water.”
At first, Lo attributes her wakefulness to anxiety, but vaguely remembers having heard something frightening. Then she hears something definite, sealing her fate for the rest of the story.
Themes
Trauma, Mental Illness, and Resilience Theme Icon
Ambition and Compassion Theme Icon
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The chapter is followed by a series of Facebook posts, dated a few days later, in which Judah asks if anyone’s heard from Lo. No one has.
Following the previous frightening scene, these posts create suspense and a sense of terror as to what’s going to become of Lo aboard the Aurora. They also show how much Jude cares for Lo, and that he’s even more concerned for her than her other friends and family.
Themes
Entrapment and Isolation Theme Icon
Perception vs. Reality Theme Icon