The Art of Racing in the Rain

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The Art of Racing in the Rain Chapter 51 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
As winter arrives, Enzo is having more trouble with his hips and has developed a mild case of urinary incontinence. Denny begins coming home on his lunch break to take Enzo out, telling Enzo that the walk helps him deal with the frustration he experiences as the cases drag on at a glacial pace. One evening, Denny and Enzo go out for a walk. Enzo ignores the urge to sniff the gutter and another dog's behind, but still urinates on the street because it is his only option as a dog.
The reader is again given the sense that the Enzo of the narrative is catching up with the Enzo from the beginning—we realize that Enzo's puddle of urine from the first chapter was likely not entirely on purpose. Further, as he ages, Enzo takes issue more and more with his life as a dog, indicating the unsavory things he resists or has no choice but to do.
Themes
 What It Means to Be Human  Theme Icon
 Illness and Death  Theme Icon
Suddenly, Denny and Enzo stop as they notice Annika, now 17 or 18, sitting at a café down the street. Enzo is gripped with hate, and calls her many names to express his displeasure to the reader. Enzo thinks that they'll cross the street to avoid her, but Denny keeps walking. Enzo resists, and Denny takes his muzzle in his hands and tells Enzo that they can make this work, and that Enzo needs to love her when they reach her. Enzo doesn't understand, but agrees since Denny has the leash.
Enzo is very in tune here with the power dynamic between himself and Denny, which is the way it is due to Enzo being a dog. He continues to narrate as though he's very tired of this situation, further indicating his age and his waning patience with his existence as a dog.
Themes
 What It Means to Be Human  Theme Icon
 Language and Storytelling  Theme Icon
 Love and Family  Theme Icon
As they reach Annika's table, Denny acts surprised and greets her. Annika, also acting surprised, greets Denny and Enzo. Enzo greets her enthusiastically, inwardly seething. Denny asks if they can talk, asking Annika's friend to stay and witness that nothing improper happens. Sitting down, he addresses Annika and tells her that everything is his fault. He says that he may have given her signals, but that he was unavailable for a variety of reasons. He continues that she did nothing wrong, but asks if she knows what the consequences of her suit are. Denny tells her that he'll never be able to see Zoë again without supervision. Annika is silent, listening. Finally, Denny says that the first time he saw Eve, he couldn't breathe or function. He tells Annika that someday, she'll find a partner that will make her feel that way, but it could never be Denny.
Enzo's love and trust of Denny is apparent as he plays along with Denny's plan despite his anger. Finally, several years later, Denny and Annika can have the adult conversation they weren't able to have on the night of their incident. This shows the power of language and communication, as the entire suit is constructed around unclear language and communication. Although the reader has been shown throughout how much Denny loved Eve, finally getting to hear it in his own words creates a bittersweet feeling and indicates how much his love for her still motivates him.
Themes
 Language and Storytelling  Theme Icon
 Love and Family  Theme Icon
Denny apologizes and implores Annika to not take Zoë away from him, and then he and Enzo leave the girls. As they walk away, he tells Enzo that he thinks Annika heard him. Enzo barks twice in response, and they trot home.
Enzo, despite his age and pain, understands the gravity of what has taken place with Annika, and this allows him to forget his age for a moment and provides a sense of hope.
Themes
 Language and Storytelling  Theme Icon
 Love and Family  Theme Icon
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