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. 19 Dec. 2018. <>.

In text

(Course Hero)



Course Hero. (2017, August 3). The Girl on the Train Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved December 19, 2018, from

In text

(Course Hero, 2017)



Course Hero. "The Girl on the Train Study Guide." August 3, 2017. Accessed December 19, 2018.


Course Hero, "The Girl on the Train Study Guide," August 3, 2017, accessed December 19, 2018,

The Girl on the Train | Rachel (Chapter 36) | Summary



On Sunday, August 18, 2013, Rachel, Tom, and Anna are sitting in the living room sipping their afternoon tea. Tom tells his version of the evening of Megan's death, claiming that he just wanted to talk to her. Yet again he refuses to shoulder the responsibility of Megan's death, blaming Rachel's presence in the neighborhood as the source of his residual anger that led to the outburst that killed Megan. He admits he didn't want anything to do with the baby and had to kill Megan when she said she'd make him pay. Rachel makes a run for the door, but Tom hurls a beer bottle at her and knocks her senseless. He tells Anna to go upstairs with the baby and drags Rachel into the kitchen and knocks her out.


Rachel's perspective picks up where her last one left off. Tom, Anna, and Rachel are sipping their afternoon tea in an absurd version of suburban bliss, as if to say that what goes on in the cookie-cutter houses of suburbia is anything but normal. The surreal normalcy of a murderous family suggests that the closed doors and drawn blinds hide all sorts of dysfunctions. The "sight of strangers safe at home" (p. 2) is revealed as illusory, concealing husbands and wives destroying each other.

And yet, Rachel faces her nemesis and finally confronts Tom, resisting his version of the truth. Without saying it out loud, she rejects his attempts to blame Megan, Anna, and herself for the events that led to Megan's death and finally stands up for herself.

Anna, however, still seems to be under his spell, and she does nothing to help Rachel. The reader wonders if she is worried about her baby's safety, or if she is still trying to preserve the facade of a happy family.

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!