"The Woman in Cabin 10" by Ruth Ware is a suspenseful and mysterious thriller novel that forces readers to stay attentive to every tiny detail. The novel is full of many twists and turns; some of which are meant to add to the mystery, while others are purposefully used to mislead readers. With every minor detail having the potential to be a major game changer in the mystery and every character being a potential suspect, the story does a good job at keeping readers on the edge of their seats. The characters also feel real and compelling, with just enough flaws to make them feel relatably human. The complexity of the novel, combined with the arguably "open to interpretation" ending, makes it a near perfect example of contemporary mystery.
Ruth Ware was deliberate about every detail in her novel, and gave purpose to everything and everyone. In this WebQuest, you are expected to pull out some of these details in order to build upon your own understanding of the story and develop the significance of many of the events of the story. You may also be asked to analyze the deeper purpose of some of these details by connecting some of the themes of the story to real life issues or occurrences. Your goal is to pull from the text, sources and your real life experiences in order to reinforce your understanding of the novel and introduce yourself to other interpretations of the novel.
1. Who was the woman in cabin 10? Who was she pretending to be? What happened to the person she pretended to be? (Hint: Chapter 30)
2. Why did the people of the small town turn against Lo at the end of the novel?
3. What was the purpose of the home invasion at the beginning of the novel? How does it impact Lo for the remainder of the story? (Visit https://psychcentral.com/blog/how-trauma-can-affect-your-body-mind/ if you are stuck.)
4. What is the purpose of Lo's nightmare of the woman peeling off her own skin? What is this nightmare meant to represent about Lo's situation and how she views the woman at this point?
5. List three examples of red herrings (https://literarydevices.net/red-herring/) throughout the story meant to mislead the reader. Explain how the reader was misled by each of these clues.
Expanding your understandings
1. Based on Lo's theory that Bullmer was only using Carrie to get rid of Anne so he could take out a life insurance claim, compare this situation to any of these real life cases of life insurance fraud. https://www.lifeinsure.com/5-infamous-cases-of-life-insurance-fraud/ How are these cases similar? How are they different? Do you think this plan could have worked? Do you believe this was actually Bullmer's intention?
2. Using the source provided as guidance, give examples from the novel that demonstrate Lo's struggles with anxiety, phobias and PTSD. Do you think Lo becomes better or worse at coping with these disorders as the story progresses? How do these disorders play a direct role in the story? Do you think the novel does a good job at accurately portraying these problems? https://www.deltamedcenter.com/disorders/anxiety/signs-symptoms-effects/
3. Based on this analysis of what makes a person "strong," determine whether or not you believe Lo is a strong character. Analyze her actions in tough situations, the way she does or doesn't recover from certain situations and her overall views throughout the story to determine whether or not you believe she fits this definition of a "strong" character. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-squeaky-wheel/201506/the-7-characteristics-emotionally-strong-people
1. This one is just for fun, so be creative and don't be afraid to be a little bold. What do you think happened at the end of the story? Did Carrie kill Bullmer? Where did she go? Why did she deposit money to Lo's bank account? Do you think she kept details from Lo? Was Bullmer actually what Carrie said he was? Feel free to explore the ending however you'd like and develop any theories about what you think may have really happened on the ship.
Recall/Analysis (15 points max)
3 points - Question is answered correctly or originally and sources are used and analyzed thoroughly
2 points - Question is answered correctly or originally and sources are used but not analyzed
1 point - Question is answered with ideas that are partially correct and original and sources are misused and missing analysis
0 points - Question is answered incorrectly or inappropriately and sources are missing
Expanding you understandings (30 points max)
10-8 points - All parts of the question are answered thoroughly, ideas are well developed and draw from both the novel and the provided source effectively
7-6 points - All or most parts of the questions are answered, ideas are logical but sourcing has some flaws
5-3 points - Most parts of the questions are answered, ideas are hard to follow and sourcing is flawed
2-1 points - Some parts of the questions are answered, ideas are hard to follow or flawed and sourcing is missing or flawed
0 points - Answer is blank or completely unrelated to the questions
Your interpretations (5 points max)
5 points - Presents interesting or original ideas about the events of the novel that provide a unique perspective
0 points - Answer is blank, unrelated or adds nothing original to the discussion of the novel
Ruth Ware manages to bring new life to genres of mystery and horror with "The Woman in Cabin 10". This novel manages to terrify audiences by using real life disorders or occurrences that could potentially plague anyone at anytime, making it a very immersive and realistic reading experience. Ruth's use of detail and real life terrors makes this novel a fantastic piece to dig into in order to find deeper meanings and hidden things you may have missed the first time around. The complex issues in this novel make it an ideal piece to tackle for anyone interested in the areas of mental health or trauma disorders. With a better understanding of many of these topics, hopefully you can find more meaning and moral to take away from this modern classic.
Mental health information: https://ourworldindata.org/mental-health
Homicide clearance rates (Europe): https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1477370818764840
Insurance fraud: https://criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-charges/insurance-fraud.html
The author: https://ruthware.com/