The Art of Racing in the Rain

The Art of Racing in the Rain

The Art of Racing in the Rain Chapter 16 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Spring and early summer pass quickly as Denny experiences victory after victory. People start coming over for dinner, and more than just Mike—racing greats like Luca Pantoni, a powerful man from Ferrari who is in town visiting Don Kitch, Jr., Seattle's best racing tutor. Enzo begins spending time in the dining room, against his personal code, to be closer to the greatness. Zoë drops racing truths at various moments and impresses everyone, which Enzo feels allows him to vicariously impress these men, since he can't show them his knowledge himself.
We see how important racing is to Enzo, and particularly how much he admires these greats of the racing world, as he's willing to compromise his personal code in order to bask in their glory. We also see how his relationship with Zoë has developed as she's gotten older. She provides a way for him to more fully experience this greatness in a more human way.
Themes
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Eve has recovered from her episodes with no explanation, although her hand injury continues to give her trouble. She regularly alerts Denny about the needs of her “fertile field,” and the two are regularly intimate and happy again.
The fight that resulted in Eve's hand injury had lasting consequences, despite her spontaneous recovery. It's implied that Eve is no longer having to fake her pleasure.
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However, things soon begin going downhill: Denny gets caught in the first turn of a race in Phoenix, and the damage done to his car means he finishes “DFL,” or dead fucking last. Eve doesn't think it's fair, since it was the other driver's fault, but Denny says it was his for being where he could get hit. Despite this, Denny, Eve, Enzo, and Zoë are crushed. Enzo says they came so close to greatness, and greatness smells like roast pig. He questions what is worse, smelling the pig and not eating it, or never smelling it at all. That hot August, Denny spends his time doing math, figuring that he could still finish in the top ten and win rookie of the year, which would allow him to continue racing the next year.
The idea that it's one's own fault for being in the wrong place at the wrong time will crop up again later in Enzo's personal philosophy. We also see Denny working to try to have it all and figure out how to have racing and family at the same time. Additionally, Enzo doesn't answer his own question about the roast pig here, but the idea of this dilemma will also be a recurring question going forward.
Themes
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One day Denny and Eve sit on the porch while Enzo soaks up the sun and Zoë plays in the sprinkler. Eve suggests that maybe “it” isn't meant to be. Denny says it'll happen when it happens, and Eve replies that Denny's never home when she's ovulating. Denny invites her to come with him next week and come to the track for the race.
Here we see the limits of Enzo's perception as a dog and how that affects the narrative style. The reader likely understands that Denny and Eve are trying to conceive another baby, but Enzo is unable to directly articulate that.
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Get the entire Racing in the Rain LitChart as a printable PDF.
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Eve says she can't go to the track now that she's feeling good, as she's afraid that the noise and excitement might give her a bad reaction. She asks Denny if he understands, and he says he does. Enzo says he does too. He says the track is such an energetic experience, noisy and hot, and he and Denny feed off of it, but he understands that the energy could be toxic to Eve.
Again, although it's not mentioned, the idea of the demon or the zebra here is symbolized by the track. Like the original zebra, which is Zoë's favorite toy but evil to Enzo, the track is a positive experience for Denny and Enzo but a very negative one for Eve.
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Denny suggests they use a turkey baster, and Eve starts laughing uncontrollably. He continues, saying he could leave a cupful of babies in the fridge for her, and Eve continues to laugh. Enzo doesn't understand the joke. Eve gets up, goes in the house, and returns with the turkey baster. They giggle and watch Zoë shriek and run in the sprinkler.
Enzo, again, doesn't understand at all the very human process of trying to conceive, illustrating the limits of his understanding because of his non-humanity.
Themes
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