What are the themes of The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn?

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Sarah Goodale eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The themes of A.J. Finn's The Woman in the Window (2018) include alcoholism, mental illness (specifically agoraphobia), and the internet. One of the main characters, Anna Fox, is an agoraphobic widow (though the circumstances surrounding her family's death are not revealed until the novel's end). She has a sheltered lifestyle, playing games online, watching old movies, and drinking wine. Drinking is a major part of Anna's lifestyle, and she continues to drink two to three glasses of merlot daily, despite the protestations of her psychiatrist and physical therapist. Though Anna is an intelligent woman (before her agoraphobia, she had been a successful child psychologist), she is not immune to alcoholism. Her alcoholism plays a major role in her not being believed by police. They believe that her excessive consumption of alcohol, coupled with her medication, caused her to hallucinate and that she did not see what she claims.

Anna believes she saw a woman being stabbed to death in the window of the home across the street. This home belongs to the Russells, whose son, Ethan, brings her a candle from his mother when they first moved in. After Anna sees this stabbing, Jane Russell is still alive. Ironically, though Anna is agoraphobic and does not leave the house, she is witness to a murder that of which all others (including the police) are ignorant. It turns out that a woman was indeed stabbed, but it was not Jane Russell, but Ethan's biological mother, Katie.

The theme of the internet is developed through Anna's fixation on her online community. In addition to ordering food and playing games online, she is part of a support group for other agoraphobic people. As a member of this online community, she meets one Grandma Lizzy, who particularly interests her. This persona turns out to be a ruse invented by none other than Ethan Russell, who is himself sneaking into Anna's home and planning to kill her.

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