The Girl on the Train | Study Guide

Paula Hawkins

Download a PDF to print or study offline.

Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic


Course Hero. "The Girl on the Train Study Guide." Course Hero. 3 Aug. 2017. Web. 16 Dec. 2018. <>.

In text

(Course Hero)



Course Hero. (2017, August 3). The Girl on the Train Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved December 16, 2018, from

In text

(Course Hero, 2017)



Course Hero. "The Girl on the Train Study Guide." August 3, 2017. Accessed December 16, 2018.


Course Hero, "The Girl on the Train Study Guide," August 3, 2017, accessed December 16, 2018,

The Girl on the Train | Anna (Chapter 32) | Summary



Anna laughs hysterically that Rachel wants her to come with her. She realizes that Tom will soon notice that the phone is missing and contemplates getting it back. She does not want the police to find it because her own fingerprints are on it now. Rachel asks whether she's ever met Tom's army buddies and his parents, and then discloses that she has never met them. When Anna asks why he would lie about that, Rachel simply states that he lies about everything. Anna admits that she knows that Tom had an affair with Megan, but she declares it doesn't matter because Megan is dead. Rachel asks her to come with her, but Anna has no intention of leaving Tom just because he had an affair. As they talk Tom comes home and watches them from the kitchen window.


This is the first confrontation between the two women in the book. While all along it seemed that Rachel was in denial of the truth, now it is Anna who seems oddly removed from reality, dismissing the fact that her husband likely is a killer.

Her callousness and self-centeredness seem to know no bounds. Anna is worried that she threw the phone away not because it is the only evidence that her husband had an affair with Megan and likely killed her, but because it now has her fingerprints on it and thus implicates her. Anna wants to find it—not to hand it over to the police, but to destroy it. She has no interest in the truth, no interest in justice. Instead, she focuses on the fact that her rival, Megan, is dead and therefore no longer a threat to her family. For Anna this is a good thing because it allows her to keep up the facade of a happy family.

Even now that she realizes that all three them—Rachel, Megan, and Anna—have been victimized by her husband, Anna cannot conceive of leaving him. At first glance this choice seems inexplicable. But all along Anna has defined herself in relation to men, drawn her self-worth from her sexual power over men, and valued her social status as a wife and mother in a suburban community. She is a woman with a small baby, dependent on her husband for financial support. As a mother, she is desperate to protect that at all costs.

In a strange reversal of characteristics, Rachel turns out to be strong and independent, willing and able to push away the cobwebs to reveal the truth, while Anna turns out to be willing to live a lie.

Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about The Girl on the Train? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!