The Girl on the Train

by

Paula Hawkins

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Anna Watson is one of the novel’s narrators and protagonists. As Tom Watson’s former mistress current wife, she feels a deep sense of anxiety and protectiveness when it comes to her marriage. Anna is threatened by Tom’s ex-wife Rachel’s proclivity for calling and texting Tom at all hours and showing up at their house at random. She fails to see the unearthed trauma and pain in Rachel’s odd behaviors, and instead dedicating herself to creating a kind of seal around her household. Anna, then, becomes a woman completely absorbed by motherhood: she overprotects her daughter, Evie, to the point of suffocation in order to distract herself from the larger problems in her life—including her inability to ever fully trust Tom. When her and Tom’s former nanny, the young and beautiful Megan Hipwell, goes missing, Anna becomes increasingly perturbed by the authorities’ failure to solve the disappearance. Anna practices tuning out her own emotions and intuitions and instead tries to conceive of Rachel as the only threat and enemy in her life. Anna refuses to acknowledge the darker truth about her life and her marriage—partly to protect herself and Evie and partly out of fear of ruining her status as a “perfect” wife and mother. Haughty, a bit self-obsessed, and totally preoccupied with image, Anna is—like Megan and Rachel—a deeply complicated and often unreliable narrator. Her fears of failing to embody society’s ideals of femininity impede her ability to know herself or take care of herself as fully as she could. Anna’s hatred of the train tracks which run just below her and Tom’s garden represents her fear of confronting the truth about her life and even creating the potential for escape from a situation that is quickly—and dangerously—spiraling out of control before her eyes. Anna is ultimately able to save herself from Tom, with Rachel’s help—yet what becomes of Anna and Evie after Tom’s death is uncertain.

Anna Watson Quotes in The Girl on the Train

The The Girl on the Train quotes below are all either spoken by Anna Watson or refer to Anna Watson. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Women and Society Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Riverhead edition of The Girl on the Train published in 2015.
Rachel: Five Quotes

I'm thinking about her now. I have to convince Scott that I knew her—a little, not a lot. That way, he'll believe me when I tell him that I saw her with another man. If I admit to lying right away, he'll never trust me. So I try to imagine what it would have been like to drop by the gallery, chat with her over a coffee. Does she drink coffee? We would talk about art, perhaps, or yoga, or our husbands. I don't know anything about art, I've never done yoga. I don't have a husband. And she betrayed hers.

Page Number: 107
Explanation and Analysis:
Anna: One Quotes

When I wake again, Tom's not at my side, but I can hear his footfalls on the stairs. He's singing, low and tuneless, "Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you. . ." I hadn't even thought about it earlier, I'd completely forgotten; I didn't think of anything but fetching my little girl and getting back to bed.

Related Characters: Anna Watson (speaker), Tom Watson, Evie
Page Number: 108
Explanation and Analysis:
Anna: Two Quotes

We need to get away from here. We need to get away from her.

Page Number: 140
Explanation and Analysis:
Anna: Four Quotes

She held up a newspaper with the headline WAS MEGAN A CHILD KILLER? I was speechless. I just stared at it and, ridiculously, burst into tears. […] Diane glanced slyly up at me and asked, "Are you all right, sweetie?" She was enjoying it, I could tell.

I had to leave then, I couldn't stay. They were all being terribly concerned, saying how awful it must be for me, but I could see it on their faces: thinly disguised disapproval. How could you entrust your child to that monster? You must be the worst mother in the world.

Related Characters: Anna Watson (speaker), Megan Hipwell / “Jess”, Evie
Page Number: 196
Explanation and Analysis:
Anna: Six Quotes

I'm doing the things she did: drinking alone and snooping on him. The things she did and he hated. But recently—as recently as this morning—things have shifted. If he's going to lie, then I'm going to check up on him. That's a fair deal, isn't it?

Related Characters: Anna Watson (speaker), Rachel Watson, Tom Watson
Page Number: 242
Explanation and Analysis:
Anna: Nine Quotes

"I don't believe you," I say. "Why would he lie about that?"

"Because he lies about everything."

Related Characters: Anna Watson (speaker), Rachel Watson (speaker), Tom Watson, Megan Hipwell / “Jess”
Page Number: 279
Explanation and Analysis:
Rachel: Nineteen Quotes

Tom's lips are moving, he's saying something to me, but I can't hear him. I watch him come, I watch him, and I don't move until he's almost upon me, and then I swing. I jam the vicious twist of the corkscrew into his neck.

His eyes widen as he falls without a sound. He raises his hands to his throat, his eyes on mine. He looks as though he's crying. I watch until I can't look any longer, then I turn my back on him. As the train goes past I can see faces in brightly lit windows, heads bent over books and phones, travellers warm and safe on their way home.

Related Symbols: Trains
Page Number: 317
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Girl on the Train LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Girl on the Train PDF

Anna Watson Character Timeline in The Girl on the Train

The timeline below shows where the character Anna Watson appears in The Girl on the Train. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Rachel: One
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...to look at number 23 during the daily stoppages—catching sight of her ex-husband’s new wife, Anna, watering the roses or taking care of her new baby fills Rachel with pain. (full context)
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...number 23—but she cannot stop herself. She can’t see inside the house, but she imagines Anna playing with her baby, washing up, and cooking breakfast. Rachel closes her eyes and remembers... (full context)
Megan: One
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Thursday, August 16, 2012. Megan quits her job as a nanny for Anna and Tom Watson—finally, she feels free. She worries that Scott will be mad at her—but... (full context)
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...to be her gallery and feels sad. She is nervous about running into the Watsons—especially Anna, who still resents her for leaving the nanny job. As Megan approaches an underpass, she... (full context)
Rachel: Two
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...cheated on—again. She remembers finding an illicit email on Tom’s computer from a woman named Anna, and discovering a cache of steamy love letters they’d been sending back and forth for... (full context)
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...at a coffee shop and enduring their pitying looks, Rachel received an unexpected voicemail from Anna, begging her to stop calling the house at night. To cope with the shock, Rachel... (full context)
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...one from Cathy asking where she is, and another from Tom scolding her for frightening Anna and hanging around their home. Rachel has no idea what she did last night. As... (full context)
Megan: Three
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...what she’s looking for. On the way back home from the woods, Megan runs into Anna pushing her baby in a carriage. (full context)
Rachel: Four
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...been missing since Saturday evening, and while Rachel doesn’t want to run into Tom or Anna, she feels compelled to go to Witney. She has been reading articles about Megan’s disappearance... (full context)
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...on Blenheim Road around the time that Megan left home—investigators learned this when speaking with Anna Watson. Rachel felt embarrassed and nervous, recalling the flashback of sitting in the underpass covered... (full context)
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...about the events of Saturday night, but Rachel was evasive. The detectives told her that Anna informed them that Rachel once broke into the house and attempted to kidnap her baby,... (full context)
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...Facebook post Tom made about the joys of new parenthood—when she went to his and Anna’s house and picked their baby up out of her bassinet. She meant to simply go... (full context)
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Gaskill and Riley began to suggest that perhaps Rachel attacked Megan, believing that she was Anna—both women, they pointed out, are of similar build with blond hair. Rachel told the detectives... (full context)
Rachel: Five
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...and a cup of tea, Rachel opens the email and faces her nasty words about Anna: in the email, she urged Tom to tell Anna to stop lying to the police... (full context)
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Rachel recalls the day last summer when she went to Tom and Anna’s and took their baby, Evie, out into the garden, down near the train tracks. She... (full context)
Anna: One
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Saturday, July 20, 2013. Anna wakes up early to feed Evie and quickly falls back asleep with the child beside... (full context)
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When Anna returns from the shops, she finds Tom on his laptop. He quickly closes it. Anna... (full context)
Rachel: Seven
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...Rachel stepped onto the sidewalk, she found herself face to face with Tom, Evie, and Anna. (full context)
Anna: Two
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Monday, July 22, 2013. Tom, Anna, and Evie go on for a family outing to a restaurant. Getting there requires them... (full context)
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That evening, Anna learns that someone has been arrested in connection with Megan’s disappearance. Tom wants to discuss... (full context)
Rachel: Eight
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...how she ended up with a cut on her head. Tom accuses Rachel of suspecting Anna of doing something to her. He refutes the idea and insists that when he found... (full context)
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...what happened between Rachel and her ex-husband. Rachel says that Tom cheated on her with Anna while they were still married—and that her drinking started while they were married and struggling... (full context)
Rachel: Nine
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...in a blue dress walking away from her. She realizes that the figure must be Anna(full context)
Anna: Three
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Saturday, August 3, 2013. Anna sits alone in the kitchen. Tom is out with some old army buddies, and Evie... (full context)
Rachel: Ten
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...puttering around in the background. Rachel asked if they could meet soon to talk about Anna Watson, so Scott asked Rachel to come over the next day.  (full context)
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...she finds him looking disheveled and defeated. When she asks Scott about Megan’s relationship with Anna, Scott says that there was nothing remarkable between the women. Rachel confesses that she thinks... (full context)
Anna: Four
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Wednesday, August 7, 2013. Anna is at a meeting for new mothers at her local Starbucks when one of the... (full context)
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At home, Anna cannot resist the temptation to read the story in full online. She is relieved to... (full context)
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That evening, when Tom gets home, Anna confronts him angrily about needing to leave Blenheim Road. Between the passing trains, Rachel snooping... (full context)
Rachel: Eleven
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...and makes her way to Blenheim Road, forgetting about the possibility of encountering Tom, or Anna, or a crowd of reporters. She doesn’t feel guilty about seeing Scott anymore because it... (full context)
Rachel: Twelve
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...Repulsed by herself and Scott both, Rachel leaves hurriedly. Out on the street, Rachel sees Anna standing on the sidewalk, her hands on her hips. When Anna sees Rachel spot her,... (full context)
Anna: Five
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Saturday, August 10, 2013. After a morning of spin class and shopping, Anna returns to Blenheim road to find photographers swarming the Hipwell house. To her great shock,... (full context)
Rachel: Thirteen
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...if they could meet. Rachel knows that his phone call has something to do with Anna spotting her on Blenheim Road. Now that Rachel is with Tom, she feels especially guilty... (full context)
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...a woman in a blue trench coat walking farther down the road, she remembers seeing Anna wearing a blue dress and walking hurriedly away from her toward a waiting car—Tom’s car.... (full context)
Anna: Six
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Tuesday, August 13, 2013. As Anna watches Tom get ready for work, she misses the days when she, too, used to... (full context)
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That evening, Tom texts Anna to tell her he’s going to be late coming home—he’s having drinks with a client.... (full context)
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Wednesday, August 14, 2013. Anna and Tom have sleepy morning sex. Tom says that he wants the two of them... (full context)
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After Tom leaves for work, Anna takes Evie for a walk. As she passes the house where she and Tom conducted... (full context)
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For the rest of the day, Anna is plagued with thoughts about whether Tom has been lying to her all along. She... (full context)
Rachel: Fourteen
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...of the events of the night—which seem fairly ordinary—Rachel feels unsettled. She doesn’t remember seeing Anna with a baby in her arms; she wonders where Evie could have been. (full context)
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...that he didn’t get a note—but that if Rachel left one, it would explain why Anna has been mad at him. Tom angrily asks Rachel what she wants. Rachel asks him... (full context)
Anna: Seven
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Saturday, August 17, 2013. Anna is crying—she and Tom have just had yet another fight about Rachel. Anna believes there’s... (full context)
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Now, Anna cries and drinks as she works to crack Toms laptop password. Once she figures it... (full context)
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Anna goes through the bag and discovers a cell phone she’s never seen before. The phone... (full context)
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Sunday, August 18, 2013. Anna wakes in the early morning darkness. She retrieves the phone and brings it downstairs with... (full context)
Rachel: Fifteen
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...just before the train pulls in: the woman in the blue dress she saw wasn’t Anna, but Megan. (full context)
Anna: Eight
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Anna hurls the cell phone over the fence, down toward the train tracks, and heads back... (full context)
Rachel: Sixteen
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...the door, Rachel walks around the back of the house and hops over the fence. Anna and Evie are together in the backyard—but Anna hardly even looks surprised to see Rachel... (full context)
Anna: Nine
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Sunday, August 18, 2013. Anna tells Rachel that she’s not going anywhere with her. When Rachel asks when Tom will... (full context)
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Anna asks what Rachel is doing here, but Rachel that says Anna knows full well that... (full context)
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Rachel asks if Anna knows about Megan. Anna says that she knows Tom and Megan were having an affair—and... (full context)
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Rachel gently suggests that Anna pack some things for herself and Evie and come stay with her. Anna says staunchly... (full context)
Rachel: Seventeen
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Sunday, August 18, 2013. Rachel watches Anna hurry into the house and embrace Tom, with Evie between them. As they break apart,... (full context)
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Rachel calls out to Anna and begs her to see that Tom is lying. She reminds Anna that Tom was... (full context)
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Tom says that it is exasperating to put up with women like Rachel and Anna. He blames Rachel for growing depressed, heavy, and slovenly, and driving him away—then turns to... (full context)
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Rachel drags Anna outside and begs her to calm down and distract Tom while she herself calls the... (full context)
Rachel: Eighteen
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Sunday, August 18, 2013. Rachel, Tom, and Anna sit in the living room of number 23. Tom begins talking to Rachel, taunting her... (full context)
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Tom turns to Anna and tells her that he never meant to kill Megan—but when she started talking about... (full context)
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...hair back to the living room. As Rachel begins losing consciousness, she hears Tom order Anna upstairs. He says he doesn’t want things to get nasty. (full context)
Anna: Ten
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Sunday, August 18, 2013. Upstairs, Anna puts Evie down and tries to ignore the sounds of Tom beating Rachel. She tries... (full context)
Rachel: Nineteen
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...determined to get herself out of this situation—she knows now that she can’t rely on Anna. Tom tells Rachel that she’s brought this upon herself, and he suggests that she’s responsible... (full context)
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Rachel recalls how Anna called the ambulance that night—it arrived too late to save Tom. The police and detectives... (full context)
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In the wake of Tom’s death, Rachel and Anna have learned that Tom was never in the army at all. He cut ties with... (full context)
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...detail about the night of Tom’s death. After she pushed the corkscrew into his neck, Anna ran out to the garden, fell to her knees, and put her hand to Tom’s... (full context)