Study Guide

The Girl on the Train Lies and Deceit

By Paula Hawkins

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Lies and Deceit

There are familiar faces on these trains, people I see every week, going to and fro. I recognize them and they probably recognize me. I don't know whether they see me, though, for what I really am. (1.17)

What is she? At this point, we don't yet know how Rachel is deceiving us… mainly because she's deceiving herself, too.

Maybe I'll tell [Scott] Tom was hitting on me. That'll put an end to it. (2.28)

What we as readers don't know at this point is that Megan would actually be telling the truth here. Tom was hitting on her… because they were having an affair. But that isn't confirmed for another twenty or so chapters.

On the way back down the road, he passes me in his car, our eyes meet for just a second and he smiles at me. (2.53)

This is Megan's (and author Paula Hawkins') first attempt at deceiving us. She's very tricky with this "he" pronoun business, keeping us guessing who "he" is for a few chapters.

I gave a false laugh and said, "Interview. Interview." (3.15)

This lie is our first clue that Rachel is lying every day about going to work—she has just bumped into her ex-boss at a coffee shop. Sure enough, all these train rides are just her pretending to go to work.

"Jesus Christ, Rachel, what the hell is wrong with you? I have had enough of this, all right? I've just spent the best part of an hour driving around looking for you. You've really frightened Anna, you know that?" (3.70)

We don't know at this point in the book, but this is a big lie on Tom's part. Tom lies to confuse Rachel because he knows she won't remember what happened during her blackout. Also, this phone call would work as an alibi, because as we later discover, he's not driving around looking for her—he's burying Megan's body in the woods.

"I knew her… a little. From the gallery." (11.13)

The first part is true. Rachel does know Megan a little—a very little. She only knows her as much as a person can know someone else they pass every day but don't speak with. The second part is a total lie. She's never seen Megan's gallery before.

"To be honest with you, I was having a really hard time in my marriage, so I think it was a kind of compare-and-contrast thing. She lit up when she spoke about you." (11.118)

Here Rachel does a nice thing by lying: She makes Scott feel a little better about his marriage to Megan. Even though she doesn't know it was rocky at the end, this lie might make him feel a little less guilty for fighting with her before she died.

"I lied. Anything for an easy life." (26.52)

Tom is pretty despicable. It doesn't matter to him who he hurts with his lies, he only wants to make himself look and feel better.

"I'm a good liar. […] Even if she did check, the thing with Rachel is, she won't remember what happened tomorrow anyway." (26.64)

Tom knows how to pick people who are easy to lie to. So not only is he a liar, he's a lazy liar.

"You're all liars. Every last one of you." (27.36)

Scott is talking about women here. While Megan is a liar, Rachel and Anna are pretty straightforward. So check yourself, Scott.

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