The Art of Racing in the Rain

The Art of Racing in the Rain

The Art of Racing in the Rain Chapter 49 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
A few weeks later, Denny and Enzo go to Mike and Tony's house. Tony is out, but Mike and Denny sit in the kitchen with a manila envelope. Mike, pacing, is talking Denny up, telling him that this is the right thing—Mr. Lawrence negotiated a generous visitation schedule, an end to the child support payments, Zoë will receive a private education and have her college paid for, and Annika's suit will be settled with only harassment and probation charges. Denny finally asks Mike for a pen and, holding it over the documents, tells Mike that he feels like they've sliced him open and gutted him, and the only good thing is that now he isn't broke. Mike agrees that it's rough, and Denny comments on how nice the pen is.
The extent of Denny's horrible financial situation is finally exposed as he prepares to accept a settlement he doesn't truly want or believe in, but which will keep him from being broke. Mike is trying to make the settlement seem better than it is, and essentially turn it into a more positive, powerful “story” through the language he uses to talk about it.
Themes
What It Means to Be Human Theme Icon
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Enzo looks more closely at the pen, which is a souvenir pen with sliding figures from Woodland Park Zoo. He then notices that the sliding figure in the pen is a zebra. Suddenly, he realizes that the zebra isn't something external—it's inside all of us and is our fears and the worst parts of humans. As Denny moves the pen towards the documents, Enzo says he knows it's not really Denny signing. It's the zebra, and Denny won't give up his daughter for a few extra weeks of custody and an exemption from child support.
Enzo has been right all along; the zebra is all around us, but in a different way than he originally thought. This light-bulb moment represents a breakthrough in Enzo's understanding of not just humanity, but what it is to be alive. Nobody is just good or just bad; it's all shades of gray, and the zebra resides in all of us to some degree.
Themes
What It Means to Be Human Theme Icon
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Destiny and Spirituality Theme Icon
Enzo, thankful for the pain medication he's still on, snatches the papers off the table and proceeds to lead Mike and Denny on a low-speed chase through the house. They finally corner him in the living room, and just as they're about to catch him, Enzo notices that one of the windows is open. Ignoring his pain, he dives through the window, crashing through the screen, and then runs into the back yard. Denny and Mike follow, stunned. They stand on the deck and watch Enzo, still refusing to hand over the papers. Enzo digs at the papers, and as Denny warns him that he's going to be in trouble, Enzo lifts his leg and urinates on the papers.
In this moment, Enzo channels his inner Ayrton Senna with his heroics. He overcomes pain, age, and the inability to speak, and successfully does battle with the zebra in what is truly an epic display, and one that underscores the fact that gestures are all that he has with which to communicate. Further, his motivation is the preservation of his family and his love of Denny and Zoë as much as his newfound knowledge of good and evil.
Themes
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Illness and Death Theme Icon
At this, Mike and Denny finally laugh. Enzo goes to Denny, and Mike suggests calling Mr. Lawrence for another copy, but Denny tells him that he's with Enzo, and he’s not giving up.
Like Enzo, Denny has overcome the zebra by making the decision to not give up easily and continue fighting.
Themes
What It Means to Be Human Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Get the entire Racing in the Rain LitChart as a printable PDF.
The art of racing in the rain.pdf.medium
When they get home, Denny bathes Enzo and then puts on one of Enzo's favorite races, the 1984 Grand Prix of Monaco, in which Ayrton Senna drives in the rain. Enzo tells the reader that Senna would've won, but they canceled the race due to the weather. He says that when it rained, it never rained on Senna.
Enzo's statement about it never raining on Senna works to further set him apart and above as a spiritual figure. He's so much better than the other drivers that challenge and adversity don't even touch him.
Themes
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Destiny and Spirituality Theme Icon