The Art of Racing in the Rain

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The Art of Racing in the Rain Chapter 53 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Enzo addresses the reader and says that if he'd known he was meeting Denny's parents, he would've greeted them differently. Enzo says that they stayed for three days, and on one day Denny fetched Zoë to meet them. Enzo says that Zoë sat quite still with Denny's mother as she touched Zoë's face and cried. Once during the visit, Denny's father came up behind Enzo as he watched the Space Needle, asked Enzo what he saw, and touched the crown of his head the same way that Denny does. Denny's father then said to take good care of him, and Enzo wonders who he was speaking to—himself or Denny, and was it a command? He notes how wonderfully vague language can be.
Despite the fact that Enzo has previously spoken of Denny's parents as though he's exasperated by their absence in Denny's life, we see how much Enzo values family with his wish that he'd greeted them differently. Enzo also draws connections between generations as he considers the touch from Denny's father, much the same way as he's compared Zoë to Eve. This further underscores the connectedness of family.
Themes
 Language and Storytelling  Theme Icon
 Love and Family  Theme Icon
On the final night of their visit, Denny's father hands Denny an envelope and tells Denny to open it. Denny asks what it came from, and tells his parents they don't have any money. Denny's father explains that it's a reverse mortgage and when they die, the bank will get their house, but Denny needs the money now. Denny and his father embrace, crying, and his father says that they never did right by Denny, but this will make it right. They leave the following morning, and Enzo notes that their visit was brief but powerful, and life will soon begin again.
Throughout the novel, Enzo has implied that love and care are best shown through one's presence. Finally Denny's parents demonstrate their care with their presence, and with what we can assume is a substantial check. This creates a sense of closure now that Denny's parents are no longer such a mystery, and Enzo's language alludes to the sense of relief created by their visit.
Themes
 Language and Storytelling  Theme Icon
 Love and Family  Theme Icon
 Illness and Death  Theme Icon