Study Guide

Anna Watson in The Girl on the Train

By Paula Hawkins

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Anna Watson

Mistress of the Dark

Out of our three point of view characters, Rachel and Megan both have dual personalities, but Anna only seems to have one—and it's a terrible one. When Rachel imagines Megan as "Jess," she idealizes her and then Megan defies that expectation. But when Rachel thinks of Anna, the woman her husband cheated on her with, she thinks of her as a horrible man-stealing witch. And Anna basically is a horrible man-stealing witch. She does nothing to convince us otherwise.

"Being the other woman is a huge turn-on" (26.7), Anna says. So she likes being the other woman—wrecking homes is her jam. Making this even worse is the fact that while Rachel is a pretty sloppy and self-pitying drunk, Anna didn't like Rachel even before she learned about her drinking problem. And she took Rachel's freaking husband.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Anna's selfish and controlling, too. She completely ignores Rachel's pain, instead focusing on "how lucky I am, how I got everything I wanted" (10.19). This grossly selfish behavior honestly makes her the perfect match for Tom.

When Rachel tries to warn Anna that she's married to a murderer, Anna only comes around when she realizes that Tom is lying to her. Let us reiterate this: Anna doesn't care that Tom is a liar—she only cares that Tom is lying to her. She thinks, "I've always known that Tom lies. It's just that in the past, his lies tended to suit me" (32.25). It isn't that he kills Megan that bothers Anna; it's realizing that he hasn't always told her the truth. Yikes.

Even so, Anna still has a problem directing her anger at Tom. We're not entirely sure why, but Anna seems far more comfortable directing her beef toward other women instead of her man. For instance, when Anna finds out Tom had an affair with Megan, she thinks, "I've been hating the wrong woman, and yet knowing this doesn't make me dislike Rachel any less" (32.43). No, Anna, you're not hating the wrong woman; you're hating the wrong person. Hate the man who is cheating, silly.

In the end, Anna helps Rachel kill Tom. But Anna being Anna, she does it for petty reasons. She does it because Tom made her feel like Rachel, her nemesis. Like Rachel, Anna starts snooping on Tom, drinking wine, and so on—Tom has that effect on women. We're glad Anna finally directs her anger in the right general direction, but she probably still hates Rachel because Anna's that petty.

Mommie Dearest

So Anna is a terrible woman, and a static character who doesn't really change from beginning to end. Is there anything good to say about her? Well, as much as we hate to admit it, yes: Anna is a good mother, it seems. She cares for her baby, Evie, even though that baby is ugly. Seriously, that baby is u-g-l-y and it ain't go no alibi. Both Rachel and Megan call poor Evie ugly. Rachel using the phrase "ugly brat" (9.38) and Megan calling Evie Tom's "ugly child" (35.26). Nice, ladies.

We hope that baby Evie, even if she stays ugly on the outside, grows up not to be as ugly on the inside as her mother. We won't hold our breath, though, since Anna doesn't seem at all interested in changing her ways. Evie's going to grow up with one nasty role model.

Anna Watson in The Girl on the Train Study Group

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