The Art of Racing in the Rain

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The Art of Racing in the Rain Chapter 36 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Enzo describes how much he loves the drizzle Seattle is known for, since a light rain amplifies scents and brings odors to life. Eve has only been dead a few days, but since she died Enzo and Denny have been inside doing nothing. Denny and Enzo leave for a walk and Enzo thinks that Denny is craving a change, as he's dressed in slacks, a cashmere sweater, and his trench coat.
For Enzo, rain doesn't just represent challenges, it also means a state of heightened awareness. Notice how Denny is dressed and how Enzo makes sense of his clothes. The reader may understand that more is going on than Enzo realizes, bringing into question how much more aware the rain actually makes Enzo.
Themes
 Language and Storytelling  Theme Icon
Enzo and Denny walk north and once they reach the park, Denny unclips Enzo's leash and lets him run. Enzo gleefully runs off the path, enjoying the smells. At the point where they usually turn around, they keep going. They cross a large road into another park, and Enzo keeps running until he's exhausted. They emerge from the park and stop at a coffee shop where Denny buys coffee and brings Enzo water, and they keep walking. Enzo tells the reader that he loves walking, but he's very tired after their two-hour walk. As they continue, Enzo recognizes Volunteer Park and Lake View Cemetery, and notes that Bruce and Brandon Lee are buried there. They don't look for their gravestones, however, and keep walking.
It's becoming obvious that this isn't a normal walk. The clues are there, such as Denny's clothing choices and the length of the walk, but the extent of Enzo's perception is being tested and the reader is forced to keep pace with Enzo. Television is again shown to be an extremely important part of Enzo's life when he notes that the famous actors Bruce and Brandon Lee are buried at Lake View Cemetery, and he puts this together before reaching an understanding of why they're there.
Themes
 Language and Storytelling  Theme Icon
Finally, Enzo sees a temporary tent with many nicely dressed people, and he notices Zoë. He says the light switch in his head came on, and that Denny had dressed for the event. They approach the milling group, but as they get close, three men break off and walk to meet them. They are Maxwell and two of Eve's brothers, and Maxwell tells Denny he's not welcome. Denny replies calmly that Eve is his wife, and at that point, Zoë notices Denny and waves. Maxwell threatens to call the police, and the men start to argue. Maxwell leaves, telling his sons to escort Denny away. Zoë jumps up and runs towards Denny.
Finally, we realize (along with Enzo) that he and Denny have walked all this way for Eve's funeral. Maxwell is still brimming with anger at Denny. It's apparent that Maxwell and Trish have kept the less savory facts of their argument with Denny from Zoë, as she seems to adore her father as much as ever. This indicates that they're not as coldhearted as Enzo might like us to believe; they do care for the emotional wellbeing of their granddaughter.
Themes
 Language and Storytelling  Theme Icon
 Love and Family  Theme Icon
 Illness and Death  Theme Icon
One of Eve's brothers calls Denny a child molester, and Denny doesn't budge. Zoë reaches them and jumps into Denny's arms. Trish rushes up to them and tells her sons to leave, and then tries to reason with Denny. Enzo notices that Denny's eyes are full of tears, and Zoë tells him that it's okay to cry and that Grandma says crying helps to wash away the hurting. Denny sighs and tells Zoë to help her grandparents be strong while he takes care of things, and that she'll stay with her grandparents for a while longer. Trish suggests to Denny that they compromise, Denny refuses, and Zoë suddenly notices Enzo. She squirms down and hugs him.
Zoë again is repeating phrases that are not her own, indicating the amount of power Trish and Maxwell have over shaping the future they'd like to have. Denny and Zoë also once again subvert their own desires to please those around them. Trish continues to show herself to be not entirely willing to fight so directly with Denny. She'd like to have it be an easy settlement and seems to not be as anger-driven as Maxwell.
Themes
 Language and Storytelling  Theme Icon
 Love and Family  Theme Icon
 Illness and Death  Theme Icon
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Trish whispers to Denny that he must've been very lonely to take advantage of a fifteen-year-old, and Denny abruptly tells Zoë that he and Enzo will watch from a spot far away. Denny and Enzo walk to a hill top to watch the proceedings, and after the funeral is over, they watch everyone leave. They stay and watch workers dismantle the tent, and finally watch workers shovel dirt on Eve's grave. When the workers leave, Denny and Enzo walk down the hill and cry at Eve's grave. When they finish, they begin the walk home.
Denny knows his limits here, which Enzo would likely say is a result of his driving training. Further, Trish certainly knows that the rape charges are a sensitive topic for Denny, and is not above needling him despite her desire for an easy resolution.
Themes
 Language and Storytelling  Theme Icon
 Love and Family  Theme Icon
 Illness and Death  Theme Icon