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. 11 Dec. 2018. <>.

In text

(Course Hero)



Course Hero. (2017, August 3). The Girl on the Train Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved December 11, 2018, from

In text

(Course Hero, 2017)



Course Hero. "The Girl on the Train Study Guide." August 3, 2017. Accessed December 11, 2018.


Course Hero, "The Girl on the Train Study Guide," August 3, 2017, accessed December 11, 2018,

The Girl on the Train | Rachel (Chapter 9) | Summary



On Friday, July 19, 2013, Rachel recalls that the night before she made a list of things to do to solve the mystery, such as trying to find the red-haired man. She shies away from that, though, because he might be the one who hurt her. At the police station she identifies the man she saw on the terrace with Megan from some photographs and then drinks heavily that night.

On Saturday, July 20, 2013, she wakes up with the dim memory of having done something she shouldn't have. Retracing her steps she remembers that she sent Tom an angry e-mail, telling him to keep Anna away from her. Rachel remembers scenes from her marriage in which Tom told her of the hurtful things she did when she was drunk. She is about to go out to have a drink when she receives Scott's e-mail, inviting her to call him. Scott thinks she is a gallery friend of Megan's.

That evening Rachel goes to see Scott, but she is a little scared because she has to admit that she knows nothing about him, that everything she knew about Jason, the name she gave Scott, is a figment of her imagination.


Rachel has firmly inserted herself into the investigation of Megan's disappearance. It seems to make her feel good about herself, give her a purpose, and increase her sense of self-worth, and that in turn keeps her from drinking for a day. Memories of her life with Tom, however, send her right back to picking up a bottle.

Clearly, Rachel is an alcoholic: everything is reason enough to drink, and nothing can stop her. When she drinks Rachel seems like a different person, unable to think about the reasons for or consequences of her actions. Living purely in the present, Rachel behaves irresponsibly. Tom has told her about numerous examples of such irresponsible behavior, yet she can remember none of them. Rachel is wracked with guilt over the things she has done to Tom during her drinking sprees even though she cannot remember them. In a case of situational irony, that guilt makes her drink even more.

As proof of her irresponsible behavior, Rachel keeps lying in order to stay involved in the investigation. She is determined to solve the mystery—even willing to take the risky move of seeing Scott. After all, she knows nothing about him, except that, in her opinion, Megan's affair gave him a motive to hurt Megan.

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!