Study Guide

In The Woods Jealousy

By Tana French


Jealousy is one of the base human emotions that we'd like to think we grow out of as we get older, but honestly, we never do. And if you have, then we hate you. Who do you think you are anyway?


Even though Rob and Cassie, the main characters of In the Woods, are almost thirty, sometimes they still act like they're in high school. Especially Rob. He often gets so jealous of, well, anything—success, Cassie getting attention, maybe even Sam's map-making skills—that he'd almost be more at home in a college drama than a mystery.

Normally we'd try to ignore it and focus on the positive (and show that we're clearly superior to anyone succumbing to jealousy), but Rob's behavior affects the case and becomes a critical part of the book. So we suppose we have to talk about it, though we'd totally prefer to take the high road.

Questions About Jealousy

  1. Who is Rob jealous of during the course of the investigation? Why? Does he realize he is jealous of these people?
  2. Is Rosalind motivated purely by jealousy, or does she conspire to murder her younger sister for other reasons?
  3. How does jealousy factor into the 1984 crimes, including Sandra's gang-rape and Jamie and Peter's disappearance?

Chew on This

Whatever happened to Rob in the woods in 1984 stunted his growth, and he's unable to get past his childish level of jealousy.

Jealousy is a major player in the present-day crime—Rosalind is jealous of the attention Katy gets—and the investigation, too, since Rob allows his jealousy get in the way.