The Art of Racing in the Rain

The Art of Racing in the Rain

The Art of Racing in the Rain Chapter 14 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Enzo says the clues were there—Denny spent the winter obsessively playing a racing video game, racing only on American circuits. He ate no sugar and stopped drinking, ran several days per week, and lifted weights—but that Enzo didn't read the clues correctly, until the March day that Denny comes downstairs with his track bag packed and his special helmet. Eve and Zoë seem to know what's going on, but Denny hasn't told Enzo. Enzo is confused as they say goodbye, cocking his head, and Denny tells him that he took the seat in the touring car and is off to Sebring for a race. Enzo is both elated and devastated. He thought Denny couldn't do that, since he'd be away so much, and he worries about the emotional wellbeing of Eve and Zoë.
This disconnect in communication is very distressing for Enzo—he's used to Denny not only speaking candidly to him, but telling him the truth about his life and his choices. In considering what this choice of Denny's means for those left behind, Enzo certainly remembers what happened to Eve last time Denny left. Enzo's growing sense of care and affection for Eve shows as he considers this.
Themes
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Illness and Death Theme Icon
Enzo mentally collects himself, saying that he's a racer at heart, and racers never let something that's already happened affect what's happening now. He wags his tail enthusiastically, happy that Denny is being selfish and looking out for himself, like a good driver needs to do.
Again, Enzo uses racing truths to interpret and decide how to react to events in his life. Despite his fear, he's able to act supportive of Denny in what Enzo might consider a more human subversion of true emotions.
Themes
Love and Family Theme Icon
Destiny and Spirituality Theme Icon
Denny asks Enzo to look over the girls, hugs Zoë, and kisses Eve. As he turns away, Eve grabs him and starts to cry, imploring him to please come back. Denny soothes her, but Eve keeps repeating, "please come back." Denny doesn't know what she means, but Enzo knows the truth: that Eve doesn't fear Denny not returning, but knows that something's wrong with her and fears that it will return when Denny is gone. Enzo thinks of the zebra. He vows to be steadfast in Denny's absence, and Denny finally leaves. Eve collects herself and tells Enzo that she insisted Denny go, and that she thinks it'll be good for her too.
The demon/zebra is back to haunt Eve. Eve has resolved to fight the demon, though, and note that here Enzo purposefully conflates himself with Denny. He's essentially setting himself up to be Denny's surrogate while Denny is gone, in an attempt to help Eve cope.
Themes
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Illness and Death Theme Icon
Destiny and Spirituality Theme Icon
The first two races go well for Zoë, Eve, and Enzo, but poorly for Denny, who finishes 24th and 30th. Denny is frustrated, saying over dinner one night that it's his pit crew's incompetency that's keeping them from winning. Eve suggests getting a new crew as Zoë picks at chicken nuggets and Enzo stays respectfully out of the dining room, listening. Denny says the only way to fix it is to practice, which means going away for a few days the following week to do so. Eve is shaken, and Enzo can taste the adrenaline coming from the dining room. He knows that Eve prepared herself for Denny's race absences, but not sudden absences, and she feels anger and fear.
Eve is successfully battling the demon, since she's doing well with Denny's planned absences. However, her emotional resources to deal with Denny's absences are finite, and she and Enzo understand that she may not be able to handle any more than what was originally agreed upon. Enzo, as a dog, can sense emotion differently than humans can, which allows him to understand the situation without actually seeing it.
Themes
What It Means to Be Human Theme Icon
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Illness and Death Theme Icon
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Enzo hears Eve stand and gather plates and tell Zoë to eat her nuggets. Zoë declares that she's full, and then that she doesn't like nuggets. When Eve replies that she can't leave the table until she eats her nuggets, Zoë shrieks that she doesn't like them. Enzo tastes and smells anxiety, fear, and anger coming from the dining room. The argument escalates as Denny offers to make Zoë a hot dog, Eve refuses, and Zoë begins to cry. Furious, Eve finally agrees to make a hot dog.
As the fight escalates, we see that Eve has been subverting her true desires (to have Denny home) in order to support him in his dreams, but we also see the sacrifice she's making to do so. Enzo will characterize the subversion of one's desires as a decidedly human trait.
Themes
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Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Bursting into the kitchen, Eve grabs the hot dog package from the freezer and as she tries to cut it open, the knife slices into her left hand. Eve screams and Denny rushes to help her. He tells her she'll need stitches at the hospital, and Eve vehemently refuses. Denny groans and agrees to try to fix it at home. Zoë and Enzo stand in the doorway, watching, and Denny asks Zoë if she can find bandages for him. Zoë deliberates and finally leaves to find the bandages while Denny and Eve go to the bathroom. When Zoë returns, Enzo guides her to her parents, Denny takes the bandages, and he tells Zoë to go watch TV or play, and then closes the door.
In Eve's moment of heightened emotion, pain, and fear, her fear of doctors and what may be wrong with her comes to the forefront. She's willing to not get the care she needs for her hand in order to not face that something else far more serious is going on with her. We see how much of a family member Enzo is in how he treats Zoë. Zoë is also upset and confused, like Eve, and Enzo takes responsibility for her, like he promised Eve he would.
Themes
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Illness and Death Theme Icon
Enzo leads Zoë to the living room where she turns on a kids' show. When Denny and Eve appear a few minutes later, they sit down with Zoë and watch. When the show is over, Eve tells Zoë that the cut isn't bad and she can still make a hot dog, and then Eve bursts into tears, apologizing for being mean. Enzo thinks to himself that the zebra hides everywhere. Zoë starts crying as well, and Denny joins in.
As this minor tragedy is resolved, Enzo attributes it to the zebra, which helps to build the zebra's power in Enzo's mind and belief system. However, there's also the suggestion that the zebra is hiding within Eve, pointing to the realization that Enzo will eventually make.
Themes
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Love and Family Theme Icon
Illness and Death Theme Icon
Destiny and Spirituality Theme Icon
Enzo leaves, feeling as though they'd resolved their issues. He looks for dropped food in the dining room and finds a chicken nugget, which after a sniff, he realizes is rancid. He feels bad for Zoë, but reasons that they probably needed this moment together that the fight brought. Enzo says that in racing, your car goes where your eyes go, which is another way of saying that which you manifest is before you. He knows it's true, and that racing doesn't lie.
Enzo essentially believes that Zoë was in possession of a story that had the power to keep the fight from happening. He then makes further sense of the situation by relating it back to his conception of destiny and manifesting, implying essentially that the family manifested this fight.
Themes
What It Means to Be Human Theme Icon
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Illness and Death Theme Icon
Destiny and Spirituality Theme Icon