How do Adrian and Eva react differently to the passengers on the boat in "The Rough Crossing"?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Adrian Smith is a playwright and a minor celebrity. Though he is not very famous, he is accustomed to being recognized, and the hero worship of Betsy D'Amido is neither surprising nor disagreeable to him. He also takes it as a matter of course that Stacomb and his friends are familiar with "your plays or whatever it is, and all that," and invite him to join them.

At the beginning of the story, Adrian pretends that he is relieved to be escaping from the relative celebrity of his life in America and going to France, where nobody knows who he is. However, it quickly becomes clear that he really enjoys being lionized by the other passengers on the boat and is happy to spend most of his time in their company.

Eva, in contrast, feels that she is losing her husband even before becoming aware of his relationship with Betsy. Fitzgerald observes:

She did not like meeting new people unless they had "something to contribute," and she was often bored by the great streams of them, of all types and conditions and classes, that passed through Adrian's life.

Eva is bored by the other passengers and resents them for monopolizing Adrian's time and attention. Her irritation is exacerbated by physical sickness and, when Butterworth attempts to flatter her by saying that she looks like a Greek goddess, Eva is scarcely even paying attention; instead, she is wondering what has happened to her husband.

This difference in attitude between Adrian and Eva deepens the rift between them as the story unfolds.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on April 1, 2020
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial