The Girl on the Train | Study Guide

Paula Hawkins

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The Girl on the Train | Megan (Chapter 22) | Summary



On Thursday, June 20, 2013, Megan finishes telling Kamal about the day she accidentally drowned her baby: Mac came home that night and screamed at her. The next day they buried the baby, then he left and never came back. Kamal proposes that she should look for him to get closure. She doesn't want to because she feels he may hate her, yet Kamal suggests that he shares the blame because he left her alone with the baby when she was clearly overwhelmed. When Megan leaves, a jogger almost runs her over and she cuts her hand as she stumbles and catches herself leaning on someone's car.


In stark contrast to the last two chapters, in which Anna and Rachel paint Megan like a monstrous baby killer, this chapter reveals another version of her baby's death. Megan was not a cold-blooded killer, but a young girl overwhelmed by the responsibility of caring for a baby. What was supposed to be a relaxing bath for her and the baby turned into a tragic accident.

Megan is unable to move beyond her sense of guilt. Back then she could not leave the house and her dead baby until she had no choice. Now her insomnia, the tangible representation of her deep-seated fear of sleep as the harbinger of death, holds her hostage in the everlasting state of panic and restlessness that makes her want to run away from a man who truly loves her.

Megan shoulders all responsibility for the baby's death. Suggesting that Mac shares the blame, because as an older and presumably more responsible man he left a young and inexperienced girl alone to care for a baby, Kamal frees her to adjust her self-image. Megan, who shoulders all responsibility for the death of her baby, and Rachel, who takes on all responsibility for her failed marriage, are presented as mirror images of each other yet again. Just like Megan needs to reevaluate her self-image, Rachel needs to adjust hers as well.

Aside from offering further insight into Megan's past, this chapter also offers an explanation for Megan's blood on Kamal's car. It turns out that the piece of evidence that seemed to incriminate Kamal beyond a doubt has a perfectly innocent explanation. The novel shows that facts can be interpreted in many different ways depending on your point of view. Once again, it becomes clear that nothing is as it seems.

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