The Art of Racing in the Rain

The Art of Racing in the Rain

The Art of Racing in the Rain Chapter 35 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Enzo tells the reader that hands are the windows to a man's soul, and you can see the truth of this by watching in-car race footage. He says a driver's hands should be relaxed and sensitive, as a too tight grip will stop information getting to the brain. He says that receptors all over the body give the brain information on body position and emotions, and restricting information is foolish. Enzo says that Denny's hands shook often after Eve's death, and it was unsettling to them both.
Once again, Enzo draws connections between hands (a human-specific physical trait), driving, and how they link back to ideas of spirituality. He also connects television when he says that all of this can be seen and understood through watching in-car race footage. This allows us to see how poorly Denny is coping with events.
Themes
What It Means to Be Human Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Illness and Death Theme Icon
Destiny and Spirituality Theme Icon
Later that night, Mike and Tony bring Enzo to Denny's house. Denny tells them he doesn't want to talk about what's happening, and can't anyway. Mike asks if they can come in, and Denny refuses. Mike and Tony can't decide whether to honor Denny's request or stay anyway, and Enzo can smell their anxiety. Mike asks if they need to worry about Denny leaving the gas oven on and him lighting a cigarette, and Denny replies that his stove is electric and he doesn't smoke. Mike makes several more offers to help as Tony pulls him away.
Mike and Tony care deeply for Denny's wellbeing in his time of grief, and they cared for Enzo while Denny was in jail seemingly unasked. Denny's discomfort and unhappiness are obvious, and the reader wonders what physical signs of distress he's showing, like shaking hands. Enzo again can sense their more primal reactions when he smells their anxiety.
Themes
What It Means to Be Human Theme Icon
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Heading into the kitchen, Enzo worries that Denny lied and they do have a gas oven, but Denny goes to the cupboard and pours himself a drink. Enzo decides he can't stand for that, and barks at Denny. Denny asks if it's too much of a cliché, and Enzo thinks that it's a pathetic cliché. Denny drinks his drink and Enzo judges him, thinking that now Denny will quit fighting and turn into a pathetic drunken character from a bad television drama. Enzo leaves and curls up in Zoë's room to be far away from Denny.
The extent of Enzo's understanding of the world around him takes a humorous turn here when he questions the type of stove Denny has, providing some lightness to a very dark situation. For all Enzo's discussion of the good television he's seen, we also now see that he has a sense of bad television characters, ones who give up on life and drown their sorrows.
Themes
What It Means to Be Human Theme Icon
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Later, Denny appears in the doorway and tells Enzo he put the booze away. He returns to the living room and Enzo joins him, satisfied that Denny got his point. Denny is watching an old home video of himself, Eve, Zoë, and Enzo playing on the beach when Zoë was a toddler. Enzo remarks that this was long before they ever knew they'd be separated. Denny says to Enzo that no race has been won in the first corner, but plenty have been lost there. Denny scratches Enzo and says if they're going to be a cliché, it's better to be a positive one. Enzo agrees and tells the reader that the race is long, and to finish first, first you must finish.
Denny here is applying racing truths to his own life, much in the same way that Enzo does. Enzo too adds his own racing truth, which shows how both he and Denny center their lives around what racing has to teach. There's a sense of the dramatic again here with the discussion of clichés, which are often a dramatic element.
Themes
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Illness and Death Theme Icon
Destiny and Spirituality Theme Icon
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