The Girl on the Train

by

Paula Hawkins

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The Girl on the Train: Megan: Seven Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Thursday, June 20, 2013. Megan is back at Kamal’s house. He pours her a glass of wine, snuggles against her, and asks her to finish her story. Megan picks up where she left off and describes Mac coming home to find her still in the bath. When he turned the light on, Megan screamed—she didn’t want to see her dead child. Megan ran, naked, out of the house and down to the beach. Eventually, Mac came for her and wordlessly led her back to the house. The next morning, the two of them buried Libby near the abandoned train tracks and marked the grave with some stones. That night, Mac went out—and never came home.
The horrific details of Libby’s death continue to unravel as Megan confesses the full truth to Kamal. Judging by Megan’s reaction upon finding Libby dead, it seems that her immediate impulse was to deny and escape from the tragedy. Indeed, the tragic story features the mention of train tracks—a recurring symbol of the desire for escape that both Megan and Mac felt in the wake of such a tragic loss. This explains why, so many years later, Megan still feels restless and eager to constantly reinvent herself: she’s running away from her failures as a mother and her grief.
Themes
Women and Society Theme Icon
Gaslighting, Memory, Repression, and the Self  Theme Icon
Secrets and Lies Theme Icon
Motherhood, Duty, and Care Theme Icon
After 10 days, Megan says, she packed her things and left the cottage in the woods. She never saw Mac again, and she never returned. Megan admits that she believes Mac is dead—she has a strange sense that he’s not around anymore. Kamal suggests Megan try to contact him to find out if he’s alive—and if he can offer her some closure. Megan says that she believes Mac hates her. Kamal, however, suggests that Mac is probably feeling just as afraid, guilty, and pained as Megan is. Kamal points out that Mac abandoned Megan—the one person who was supposed to help her left her alone in her moment of need.
For so many years, Megan has convinced herself that she is the villain in her own story. She believes that she is an untrustworthy murderer and that she is unworthy of love, happiness, or a second shot at motherhood. Kamal is the first person in Megan’s life to learn the truth—and thus the first person given the opportunity to point out the ways in which Mac failed Megan.
Themes
Women and Society Theme Icon
Gaslighting, Memory, Repression, and the Self  Theme Icon
Secrets and Lies Theme Icon
Motherhood, Duty, and Care Theme Icon
The conversation finished, Megan prepares to head home. On her way out the door, Megan asks Kamal if she can see him again. Kamal, however, insists that they must do the right thing and stop seeing each other. He urges her to go home to Scott. As Megan walks home, a male jogger with headphones on bumps into her and knocks her down. He doesn’t stop to apologize or help her up but instead keeps running. When Megan arrives home, she finds that her hand is cut and her mouth, which she rubbed on the way home, is smeared with blood.
This passage shows just how easy it is for women to suffer violence unnoticed. If a male jogger could knock Megan down without apologizing or facing consequences, Hawkins suggests, there are many other acts of violence that could be perpetrated with similar ease and stealth. 
Themes
Women and Society Theme Icon
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