The Woman in Cabin 10

by

Ruth Ware

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Woman in Cabin 10 can help.

The Ocean Symbol Analysis

The Ocean Symbol Icon

The ocean in The Woman in Cabin 10 symbolizes crushing isolation. As she stands on the Aurora’s deck early in its voyage, Lo observes “the dark gray waves stretched out like a desert—mile upon mile, stretching to the horizon, no sign of land of any kind, nor even a ship … There was literally no way of calling for help.” She is realizing just how isolated she is on the ship, both geographically and in terms of her lonely search for a murderer. She feels something similar a few days later, when she’s imprisoned in the ship’s hold and knows she must be far beneath the waterline: “I felt again the horror begin to creep over me, the tons and tons of water weighing on my head and shoulders, pressing against the hull … and me here suffocating in my own panic…” She’s beyond the help of other passengers, alone with her helpless terror. Again, when they’re docked at Bergen, Lo senses just how easily a murder—including her own—might be concealed, with no one ever knowing what became of her: “I could feel the shifting mass of water all around us … unimaginably deep and cold. A body sunk into those kinds of depths might very easily never be found.” In each instance, the ocean water threatens to completely consume its victims, forever cutting them off from any hope for assistance.

Get the entire The Woman in Cabin 10 LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Woman in Cabin 10 PDF

The Ocean Symbol Timeline in The Woman in Cabin 10

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Ocean appears in The Woman in Cabin 10. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 10
Perception vs. Reality Theme Icon
Trauma, Mental Illness, and Resilience Theme Icon
Lo immediately runs onto the veranda and looks into the ocean. She thinks she sees a “swirling white shape … like a woman’s hand” beneath the... (full context)
Chapter 12
Entrapment and Isolation Theme Icon
Trauma, Mental Illness, and Resilience Theme Icon
Wealth and Power Theme Icon
Lo can’t shake the feeling of “being hemmed in, trapped below” the ocean, but she pushes her anxious thoughts away, refusing to give up her investigation. When Lo... (full context)
Entrapment and Isolation Theme Icon
Perception vs. Reality Theme Icon
Ambition and Compassion Theme Icon
...When she gets some fresh air on deck, Lo can’t help looking out at the ocean, thinking of a body falling through the “swirling blackness” to rest on the “lightless seabed.”... (full context)
Chapter 16
Entrapment and Isolation Theme Icon
Perception vs. Reality Theme Icon
Trauma, Mental Illness, and Resilience Theme Icon
...group descends to the lower level of the spa, and she realizes they’re below the ocean’s surface with no apparent exits. (full context)
Entrapment and Isolation Theme Icon
Perception vs. Reality Theme Icon
Trauma, Mental Illness, and Resilience Theme Icon
...naps, Lo dreams about the girl from Cabin 10—her dead body drifting far beneath the ocean’s surface. As Lo wakes up, she realizes that the roar in her ears is not... (full context)
Chapter 18
Entrapment and Isolation Theme Icon
Trauma, Mental Illness, and Resilience Theme Icon
Wealth and Power Theme Icon
...were closing around” her. She escapes onto the windy deck. As she looks across the ocean, “the dark gray waves stretched out like a desert.” A big wave hits, and Lo... (full context)
Chapter 32
Entrapment and Isolation Theme Icon
Trauma, Mental Illness, and Resilience Theme Icon
...Lo realizes she has no choice but to climb over the glass barrier above the ocean in order to make her way to the adjacent cabin. (full context)
Entrapment and Isolation Theme Icon
...up so she’s sitting astride the wall of glass, at least two stories above the ocean. She’s in full view of Bullmer, but he doesn’t turn to look out onto the... (full context)
Chapter 33
Entrapment and Isolation Theme Icon
Perception vs. Reality Theme Icon
Trauma, Mental Illness, and Resilience Theme Icon
Lo desperately kicks herself free of the gripping ocean current; it’s so dark that she doesn’t know which way is up. But soon, behind... (full context)