Discuss the use of symbolism in "The Rough Crossing."

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Symbolism in "The Rough Crossing" is characterized by the prominent motif of stormy weather. This recurring symbol represents the development of Adrian and Eva Smith’s marriage over the course of an eventful six-day journey across the Atlantic on an ocean liner.

Soon after the couple and other passengers...

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Symbolism in "The Rough Crossing" is characterized by the prominent motif of stormy weather. This recurring symbol represents the development of Adrian and Eva Smith’s marriage over the course of an eventful six-day journey across the Atlantic on an ocean liner.

Soon after the couple and other passengers board the majestic Peter I. Eudin, readers learn that a hurricane is headed toward the luxury ship. The symbol of the impending storm parallels the increasingly strained relationship between Adrian and Eva.

The weather is clear when they board the Peter I. Eudin, but Fitzgerald ominously notes that the ship will "enter the zone of the storm Tuesday, and of the hurricane late Wednesday night."

The author foreshadows not only actual rough weather but also turbulence in the Smiths’ relationship. When they initially meet and socialize with others, sailing is smooth (both for the ship and their marriage). But after Eva irritatingly notices Adrian’s flirtations with Betsy D'Amido, she leaves to check on their children and notices "it was colder on deck, with a damp that was almost rain, and there was a perceptible motion."

The ship’s rocking motion becomes more and more obvious as Eva detects Adrian’s growing attraction to Betsy. Her enduring seasickness is set off by a "steady pitch, toss, roll [that] had begun in earnest" as a result of worsening conditions. Soon afterward, she learns that Adrian and Betsy are partners in a tennis match. Instead of watching their match, Eva concentrates on "the slow slide of the roll-top sky."

By the time Adrian and Betsy reveal feelings toward each other, the storm has nearly arrived:

When Adrian and Betsy D'Amido, soaked with spray, opened the door with difficulty against the driving wind and came into the now-covered security of the promenade deck, they stopped and turned toward each other.

By day four, when Eva declares her desire to divorce Adrian, the hurricane shakes the ship with full force. Everyone and everything are tossed about. After Eva runs to the wireless room to message her lawyer about divorcing Adrian, the weather turns violent as the ship enters the eye of the storm.

When Adrian chases Eva, he is confronted with "black spray and rain," and his calls are "soundless in the black storm." Waves crash into the wireless room, and as Adrian tries to save Eva, they are flooded and buffeted by five-foot-deep rushing waters. The storm culminates at their marriage’s breaking point and brings up two suspenseful questions: Will they physically survive and stay alive? Will their marriage survive or end in divorce?

In the final part of the short story, the characters are riding a "boat train [that] moved tranquilly south toward Paris." The weather is calm as the couple sits amicably with their children. This resolution emphasizes the restoration of their marriage—at least for now and superficially—as the Smiths chat affectionately and pay scant attention to a passing Betsy.

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