The Art of Racing in the Rain

The Art of Racing in the Rain

The Art of Racing in the Rain Chapter 29 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Enzo tells the reader that while what he did in the park was selfish, it was possibly the most merciful thing he could've done for Denny given what they were going to find once they arrived at Trish and Maxwell's house. When they arrive, a white van is in the driveway. Denny goes into the back yard and washes Enzo. Trish comes out and hugs Denny, and Maxwell and Zoë come out of the house too. Denny goes inside alone to say goodbye to Eve. Enzo feels as though he has to do something, and seeing a tennis ball, drops it at Zoë's feet. Zoë ignores it, but Maxwell picks up the ball and throws it into the woods with an impressive heave. Enzo doesn't chase it.
Again, Enzo creates a sense of dramatic irony by setting up an expectation that Denny isn't going to find anything pleasant at Trish and Maxwell's house. While Enzo notes that he's not entirely sure of his intent with the tennis ball, the reader can guess that he's attempting to provide some sense of normalcy and care for Zoë.
Themes
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Denny comes out of the house and embraces Zoë. Trish says that she and Maxwell will take care of the arrangements before the end of the week. She tells Denny that there's something they wanted to talk to him about, and takes Zoë inside to get her some breakfast. Denny, Maxwell, and Enzo sit outside in silence and Maxwell awkwardly tries to start the conversation, telling Denny they're concerned. Trish reappears expectantly, and Maxwell informs her that the conversation has just started. Denny, annoyed, asks Trish why they're concerned, and she tells him that she and Maxwell discussed it with Eve, and they think it's best if they take custody of Zoë so they can raise her in a stable family environment and provide the privileges their money can buy.
The reasons Trish and Maxwell give are entirely rooted in their financial situation and what they can provide for Zoë in a material sense. Trish tries to give her story more weight by saying they discussed this issue with Eve, which will remain a nebulous point. However, while the reader may see that Trish and Maxwell are misguided, the reader will likely also see that they're motivated by love for Zoë.
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Denny and Enzo are perplexed, and Denny tells Trish and Maxwell they can't have custody. Trish tries to explain that they have the experience and finances to properly raise Zoë, but Denny again refuses. Trish states that Eve wanted them to have custody, and Denny says she never told him that. Sighing, Maxwell hands Denny an envelope. Denny opens it, and Maxwell tells Denny he should get a lawyer because they're suing him for Zoë's custody.
Trish and Maxwell again try to bolster the gravity of their story by saying that Eve agreed, but finally resort to supporting their story with legal documents.
Themes
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Zoë returns to the adults and crawls into Denny's lap. Enzo watches Denny's face change, and Denny tells Zoë to pack her things, telling her they're going home. Maxwell tries to stop her and Denny is furious. Zoë doesn't know who to listen to, and Trish finally tells her to pack while the adults talk. Trish pleads with Denny to let them keep Zoë while the lawyers work something out, but Denny refuses.
It's obvious that Zoë wasn't consulted about the fate of her custody, and the reader has both past evidence and the fact that she goes straight to Denny here to support Enzo and Denny's belief that Denny should have custody of her. Trish shows herself to be still open to compromise.
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Maxwell, shaking with anger, starts asking Denny how he's going to care for Zoë, and asks if she gets sick if Denny is going to keep her from the doctors like he did with Eve. Denny retorts that Eve refused to see a doctor, and that nobody could make Eve do what she didn't want to do. Maxwell says that's why Eve is dead, and Denny refuses to continue the conversation. He calls for Zoë and straps her into the car. Maxwell tells Denny he's going to regret this decision as Denny, Enzo, and Zoë drive away. Denny mutters to himself that he services the cars of the best lawyers in town and has their home phone numbers as a result. As they pull out of the driveway, Enzo notices that the white van and Eve are gone.
The root of Maxwell's desire for Zoë's custody, as well as his anger, is revealed: he blames Denny for Eve's death. He's motivated entirely by fear and love, and sees Denny as an obstacle to be overcome. Additionally, we see how Denny saw Eve and respected her. He treated her as her own, responsible person, and didn't force her to do anything she didn’t want to do. While he saw this as love and respect, Maxwell sees it as exactly the opposite.
Themes
Love and Family Theme Icon
Illness and Death Theme Icon