The girl on rain is about a recently divorced and therefore lonely young lady who has been an alcoholic ever since she remembers. Rachel has to go through the same torment every day as she rides on the back of the train from London past the house of her ex daily. She tries to distract herself by focusing o the other house just a few blocks from her ex-husband's house. In the house, she sees a lovely couple and tries to fantasize about how they live happy and perfect life, a life that is long forgotten to her. However, these fantasies end one day when something strange and shocking happens at her house of interest. Just after the events of the day, the wife disappears on the same night (Hawkins, 12). Unknown to her, she is the key to finding the disappeared woman, which is something that she comes to learn later on.
This narrative is blended with two other women; Megan is the disappeared wife and the current wife of Rachael's ex-husband, Anna. None of the women in this narration have admirable traits. They both have done immoral things such as cheating and lying. However, these traits are what make them an essential depiction of women in the society, (Hawkins, pg 74). The book focuses on the pain and trauma that most women are subjected to in their daily lives and describes how women are treated in the society, in the media and literature.
Rachel drinks vodka out of a water bottle all morning and is almost freezing from the cold. She comes back to the station with her face smeared with makeup and flushed cheeks from the cold. She falls drunk in the bathroom at the station. If a stranger observed her, they would think she is a working-class woman; however, she does not have a job. She was fired from her PR job because of the drinking problem. Worst of all, this happened after she breaks up with her ex because of the same drinking problem. The drinking started when she gave up hope of her getting pregnant, her future was shattered, and she felt worthless. She decided to bury all her frustration and stress and anger in alcohol, (Hawkins, 123). She explains that "The booze broke us. " She has been coming from the suburbs into the city just to keep up an appearance of normalcy. This, however, is not a story of an alcoholic woman; getting drunk is just the only way that Rachel can articulate everything that she cannot when she is sober. She is furious about what life has become to her. She expresses the rage of those women that live under patriarchy.
When she gets drunk, she records herself talking to her ex-husband's new wife, Anna. She tells Anna to "fuck off," she adds by saying, "I'd wrap my hand in her long blonde hair and pull it back... and I'd smash her head all over the floor." Rachael is so angry at life, and she therefore fantasizes and thinks about harming Anna. In the real sense, however, she does not want to kill Anna. She does not have anyone else to focus her anger on, she only but speculate. Maybe that way, she might cool off a little, (Hawkins, 90). It is just an escapist fantasy, even though this fantasy is not an escape into a perfect world, it is something.
Her loss of sight besieges Rachel; she only sees the world through the haze of her drunkenness. This is the crippling shame most women in her situation feel at how their lives fail to achieve the ideals of modern womanhood, (Hawkins, 167). This is having a husband, a good life, a job but failing to conceive a child, which happens to be the final piece of the puzzle. This crumbles the world around the women, and they tend to be made to believe that it is their fault that they cannot get pregnant. They, therefore, seek comfort in alcohol and end up ruining everything.
Rachel is buried deep in a vision and fantasy only built from glimpses through the train window of a beautiful and relaxed woman with her husband. She sees a blonde woman kissing a man that is not her husband one day and later on learns that the woman has been murdered. It is a shocking event that pushes her towards unraveling what happened to the poor women. Through all these, she regains clarity slowly. She starts going for therapy after she quit drinking and stops lying, (Hawkins, 211). She received self-revelation and learned that when she blacked out, her husband used to abuse her. But when she could sober up, her husband could make her think that she was the one destroying their relationship, when in truth she was being abused and made a victim.
Rachel is angry at how her husband made her feel about herself. He told her that she was an aggressive bitch. She was drunk, yes but that did not make her what her husband thought her off. This is a sort of gas lighting that women have to endure throughout their daily living. The society through her husband works to make women believe that they are the cause of their misery and wretchedness in their lives. Rage, later on, comes to learn of how her husband used to manipulate her and the rage makes her stab him the throat with a corkscrew, (Hawkins, 117). This shows just how much women feel enraged the moment they realize that they had all been used, manipulated and blind to it all the entire time.
The perfect blonde woman that Rachel saw through the train window does not lead a perfect life as she made it look like. Meghan beautiful peripheral of her life is a mask of a deeply miserable life. She marvels at the sexual power she has over men, something that he uses to try and forget tragic hare past and her unsatisfying present life. She calls the suburbs "a baby factory" a sentiment that reveals her bad attitude towards the suburbs. She lies to her therapist; her husband bores her, (Hawkins, 230). When she finds out that he is pregnant, she threatens to ruin the life of the responsible man, the one she only slept with out of sheer boredom. The man ends up killing her. Anna finishes off what Rachel had started by grinding the corkscrew into Tom's throat. This narrative of a killer woman, her accomplice, and a brutally murdered woman shows two women working together to get rid of the toxicity that had been contaminating their lives. Though in an untraditional way, they finally cleanse their lives and have the hope of leading a happier one.
The three women in this narrative come to make sense of their lives eventually. Their lives had become irrevocably screwed at some point in some way by other for various reasons. When one failed to have a baby that when her world got shuttered .when one had a tragic encounter in their past, she started using men for sex. Because of all these, they started hating and being angry at themselves, everyone and everything around them and hating life in general.
Murder is only a centrifuge in this story; it is a consequence of physically, emotionally and mentally abusing women. When Rachel comes to see the abuse she had been subjected to clearly, she becomes a murderer herself, and when Anna realizes the same, she becomes a liability in murder. The rage of these women metastasizes into monstrous feelings of rage, (Hawkins, 243). When women are subjected to live under such patriarchy, they are more prone to developing and keeping inside destructive homicidal angry and temperamental feelings.
In truth, the lives of these three women are not any different from our own. Modern women have the crushing obsession of living another person's life. They have concurrent desires to exemplify the feminine superlative, and they experience hardly controlled rage towards the hopelessness of having everything in life for themselves. Rachel, Meghan, and Anna each arrive at different points and to different ends in life, some good, and others tragic, (Hawkins, 214). They both have one thing in common, all their lives have been ostensibly destroyed, and only two of them have the option of trying to make things right again.
The author describes the girl on train narrative in such a way that the trauma and abuse that Rachael is dealing with is emphasized. An abuse that she does not immediately realize has been inflicted on her. The main character's narrative highlights the fact that most women in similar situations do not realize early enough that they are victims and subjects of abuse. Some are the force to lead a pretend life just so they forget their ugly pasts, some are forced to use their sexual power to manipulate and use men, and in the process, they become victims themselves. It is only through courage that women will overcome this victimization that has been subject to them by society. Hawkins, through this text, portrays this fact in a very genuine way.
Hawkins, Paula. The Girl on the Train. , 2016.
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