The Girl on the Train | Study Guide

Paula Hawkins

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The Girl on the Train | Anna (Chapter 14) | Summary



On the same day, Monday, July 22, 2013, Tom and Anna take the baby for a walk to the coffee shop they used to frequent when they had an affair. She recalls how she had wished that Rachel would come home early and see them together, so she'd know that Tom was no longer hers. They pass Megan's house at the moment Rachel walks out, and Anna's protective instincts make her take the baby from the stroller.

That evening they learn that someone was arrested in Megan's disappearance, and Anna feels relieved that the potential criminal is no longer on the loose. She wonders why Rachel was at Scott's house, wondering if she had something to do with Megan's disappearance or if she was trying to get to her yard through the neighbor's. She asks Tom to do something about Rachel, but he waves her off.


Anna, the perfect suburban housewife, is not that perfect. When she admits that as Tom's mistress she had always hoped Rachel would see them together, she exposes her self-absorbed and cold-hearted personality. She feels no guilt over playing a part in breaking up Tom and Rachel's marriage, and places all blame on Rachel herself. In her mind, Rachel's behavior—her drinking, her lack of self-esteem, and her sex appeal—was responsible for the deterioration of their marriage. In fact dating a married man added to the excitement of her affair with Tom, and she never once felt empathy for the cheated wife.

Now, however, she is very proud of her family and loves thinking about the impression they make when walking with the baby carriage. It seems as if she is only interested in the facade of a happy family. Her need to protect her baby when she sees Rachel speaks of her maternal instincts on the one hand, yet on the other it suggests that deep down she may feel that the family unit is not as strong as the facade implies.

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