The Art of Racing in the Rain

The Art of Racing in the Rain

The Art of Racing in the Rain Chapter 15 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The following weekend when Denny is away racing, Eve, Zoë, and Enzo go to stay with Trish and Maxwell. Eve's hand is bandaged, which Enzo thinks means it's worse than she let on. Trish and Maxwell live in a fancy house on Mercer Island with a gorgeous view of the lake and Seattle. Enzo notes that for as beautiful as their home was, they were the unhappiest people he'd ever met.
Trish and Maxwell's unhappiness leads them to try to control whatever they can in an attempt to create some version of happiness for themselves and others, without necessarily taking into account how those around them define happiness. This idea will play out throughout the novel.
Themes
What It Means to Be Human Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Illness and Death Theme Icon
As soon as they arrive, Trish and Maxwell start ragging on Denny to Eve. They stand in the kitchen drinking, and Maxwell asks Eve what she's going to do, clarifying that he's asking about Denny. He continues that Denny isn't contributing or spending enough time with his family. Eve defends Denny, saying he's her husband and Zoë's father and she loves him. Eve continues to defend Denny and Maxwell finally relents. Eve forgives him and takes her drink outside.
Again, it's obvious that Trish and Maxwell are motivated by love, concern, and a desire to care for Eve and Zoë, although the way they express their love and concern doesn't match up with Eve's conception of love. Note that Trish and Maxwell believe they know best what Eve needs—think back to the way they treated her after Zoë's birth.
Themes
What It Means to Be Human Theme Icon
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Maxwell opens a jar of his favorite hot peppers, and Trish comments on how frail Eve is. Maxwell shakes his head and wonders where they went wrong with Eve. After a minute of silence, Trish comments that Enzo is watching Maxwell. Maxwell offers Enzo a pepper, which he takes, despite the fact that he was watching Maxwell to better understand what he meant, not to beg for food.
Trish and Maxwell can't believe that they raised their daughter to conceptualize love and care so differently from the way that they do. Enzo needs language—his actions are unable to communicate this intent.
Themes
What It Means to Be Human Theme Icon
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Illness and Death Theme Icon
The pepper is unpleasant—Enzo swallows quickly, thinking his stomach acid will take care of the unpleasant sensation, but it doesn't. Enzo goes outside and lies down under a bush in the shade until the burning stops. Later that night, when Trish and Maxwell take Enzo outside, Enzo notes that his stool is watery and foul smelling. After this experience, he says that he remains wary of trying new foods and never accepts food from someone he doesn't trust.
This proves to be a learning experience for Enzo. He learns, first of all, what the cost of eating a hot pepper is, which will be important later. Then, even though he already experiences a dislike of Trish and Maxwell, it's implied that he's beginning distrust them as well.
Themes
Illness and Death Theme Icon
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