The Girl on the Train | Study Guide

Paula Hawkins

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The Girl on the Train | Anna (Chapter 26) | Summary



On Tuesday, August 13, 2013, Anna watches Tom get ready for work. She realizes that she misses dressing up and going to work. She is having a hard time with her life as a stay-at-home mom because she misses being a mistress.

That evening, she gets furious when she sees Rachel standing outside, looking at their house. She is beginning to wonder whether Tom enjoys that Rachel cannot let go. Anna calls Detective Riley.

The next morning Tom and Anna fight because Anna did not want to engage in a vacation fantasy when they don't have the money. They fight again when Anna realizes that he lied to her and instead of calling Rachel he saw her in person. Anna recalls having called Detective Riley and telling her about Rachel's visiting Scott. Later she remembers that during their affair Tom told her that he was a good liar and that she needn't worry that Rachel would find out. Suddenly suspicious because she caught him in a lie, she wonders if he also lied about other things. She pours a glass of wine and tries to guess the password on his laptop. She loses track of time and can barely hide her snooping when Tom gets home.


No doubt, being a stay-at-home mother with a fussy baby is difficult, and even the most devoted and caring mothers may once in a while find themselves wishing for the more carefree time they had before having a baby. Anna, however, takes this a step further when she says she misses being a mistress. Her longing for her earlier life has little to do with the hard work and sleepless nights that can wear down any mother's resolve. Considering being a mistress a turn-on shows a callous disregard for another person's pain. Anna, the woman who at first glance lives a wholesome life, reveals herself to be without a moral compass. Both Megan, judged a baby killer, and Rachel, judged a desperate drunk, suffer because of their moral transgressions and readily accept their guilt, while Anna keeps pointing the finger at Rachel, claiming her own behavior brought down her marriage.

Demonstrating dramatic irony, Anna's own behavior—fighting with Tom over money he wants to spend on a vacation, her jealousy over Rachel, drinking a glass of wine by herself, and snooping in Tom's computer—mimics Rachel's behavior. The two women, supposed rivals, are mirror images of each other.

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