The Art of Racing in the Rain


Garth Stein

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The Art of Racing in the Rain: Chapter 21 Summary & Analysis

The Tuesday after Zoë's weekend with Trish and Maxwell, she and Enzo play in the back yard. After running around for a while, she calls Enzo over to a corner of the yard, where one of her Barbie dolls sits in the wood chips. Telling the doll it's going to be okay, Zoë unfolds a dishcloth and pulls out scissors, a Sharpie, and tape. She pulls off the doll's head, cuts off all of its hair, and draws a line in Sharpie on the doll's skull. Still whispering that the doll will be okay, she tears off a piece of tape and puts it on the doll's head, pressing the head back onto the neck and laying the doll down. She and Enzo stare at her handiwork, and Zoë says that the doll can go to heaven now, and she herself can go live with Grandma and Grandpa. Enzo is suspicious, seeing that Trish and Maxwell are establishing an agenda and sowing the seeds of a story for a future they hope will come true.
This is a concrete example of what Enzo has discussed previously regarding Zoë's fantasy world having deeper meaning than just silly fairy tales. The Barbie doll is obviously supposed to stand in for Eve, and Zoë has a definite idea of what has happened to Eve and what is going to happen to her in the future. We've gotten tastes of Trish and Maxwell's overbearing nature before, but here we see, through Zoë's eyes, where they hope to lead events going forward. While he doesn't state it outright, Enzo would probably say that Trish and Maxwell are manifesting like Denny is, but for an opposite outcome.
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