The Art of Racing in the Rain

The Art of Racing in the Rain

The Art of Racing in the Rain Chapter 40 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
When September arrives, Denny's court date arrives with it. Denny leaves in the morning wearing a suit and returns late in the afternoon. He smiles at Enzo, and behind him is Zoë. The family spends a joyous afternoon playing, and after dinner, they have ice cream. Suddenly, Zoë asks if Denny is going back to Europe. When he says no, she's overjoyed at getting her room back. Denny explains to her that she can't come home yet because the lawyers still have to make a decision on where she'll live. Frustrated, Zoë instructs Denny to tell them that she wants to live with him. He tries to explain that he's been accused of doing something bad and he has to prove he didn't do it before she can come home.
The power of the story that Zoë was told through the letter exchange still holds, as she obviously still believes that Denny was in Europe. Zoë's explicitly stated desire to live with Denny adds to the sense of frustration at the situation. The reader, as well as the characters, know that the rape suit is bogus, but the power of that story is strong enough to maintain the status quo and keep the family apart for the time being.
Themes
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
After thinking for a moment, Zoë asks if it was her grandparents who accused Denny. She stares into her bowl of ice cream and says that she made Trish and Maxwell love her too much, and that she should have misbehaved so they didn't want to keep her. Denny is dismayed, but the conversation is over.
Enzo has previously commented on how perceptive Zoë is for her age, and here we see the heartbreaking result of her precociousness.
Themes
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Later, the doorbell rings and Mark Fein is there to pick up Zoë. Mark reminds Denny that this is a victory and lays out the custody arrangement, where Denny gets Zoë one day after school and every other weekend. Mark calls Denny a champion, and then takes Zoë back to Trish and Maxwell.
Mark Fein, in trying to impress upon Denny how great this win is, uses driving language to connect with him. This first victory provides a sense of hope for the outcome of the impending rape trial.
Themes
Love and Family Theme Icon
Enzo finally understands that the trial that day had been only about Zoë's custody and not Denny's criminal charges, and that the trial had been put off while all the lawyers took vacations. However, having seen Zoë and Denny together again, Enzo's faith is restored. He tells the reader that now that Denny has fresh tires and a full load of fuel, he'll continue the race as a formidable foe.
Enzo also uses racing language to interpret Denny's win. He sees the restored contact with Zoë as emotional fuel for Denny as well as himself to get them through the grueling trial ahead.
Themes
What It Means to Be Human Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
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