The Girl on the Train | Study Guide

Paula Hawkins

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The Girl on the Train | Anna (Chapter 10) | Summary



Saturday, July 20, 2013, is Anna's birthday, and Tom surprises her with breakfast in bed. Tom falls asleep, and she takes the baby and goes downstairs to have coffee. She considers cooking a roast and decides to go out to shop for what she needs. When she returns she finds Tom at the computer. He has seen the e-mail from Rachel but does not tell Anna what it says.

That evening Anna reflects on how lucky she is to be with Tom, dismissing her friends' commentary about getting involved with a married man. While Tom gives the baby a bath, Anna prepares dinner. She notices Rachel on the street and wants to run after her, but doesn't because Tom comes down with the baby. She does not tell him she saw Rachel.


The new perspective of a third first-person narrator breaks the routine the novel has established so far. Anna is Tom's second wife, the woman who now lives in Rachel's former house just down the road from Megan's. The fact that she notices Rachel in the neighborhood on the evening of her birthday, likely as she is on her way to Scott's, suggests that her perspective will also provide insight into the events that led to Megan's disappearance.

The tone of Anna's section is decidedly different. While Rachel and Megan offer insights into the emotional reality of their lives behind the facade others see, Anna's section seems strangely superficial. She describes the domestic bliss she wants others to see. Tom seems like the perfect attentive husband, and Anna considers herself lucky to be married to him, brushing away her friends' concerns that, given he cheated on his first wife with her, he might cheat on her, too. Anna seems devoted to her husband, placing his needs above her own, happily playing the role of the traditional housewife and mother: taking care of the baby, shopping, and cooking an elaborate dinner even on her birthday. She seems to be the antithesis of Megan, who feels suffocated in the role of the suburban wife, and the antithesis of Rachel, who longs to but cannot be a mother because of her infertility.

However, both Anna and Tom are keeping things from each other: Tom does not disclose the content of Rachel's e-mail, and Anna does not tell Tom that she has seen Rachel. It seems as if Rachel, Tom's ex-wife, has been and perhaps will be a source of trouble in paradise.

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