The Art of Racing in the Rain

The Art of Racing in the Rain

The Art of Racing in the Rain Chapter 56 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Enzo narrates the commencement of the trial, but notes that what he is telling the reader is reconstructed from what he heard and what he knows of court proceedings from courtroom dramas. He wasn't there, because he was a dog. The first day was devoted to pretrial motions, and on the second day they selected the jury. Both days, Mike and Tony arrived at Denny's apartment in the morning, Mike to escort Denny to court while Tony stayed behind to take care of Enzo. Tony and Enzo didn't do much besides read and occasionally walk to a nearby café so Tony could use the free wi-fi to check his email. In the years since Tony washed Enzo's dog, Enzo decided he liked Tony, although Enzo's dog finally fell apart and was thrown away.
Enzo's advancing age and growing displeasure with his existence as a dog is becoming more and more obvious. While it's not said outright, it's implied that Enzo's incontinence is bad enough to warrant constant supervision. Mike and Tony demonstrate their love for Denny by actively supporting him and Enzo through the case, essentially acting as Denny's “pit crew” for this race.
Themes
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On the third morning, Tony, Mike, and Denny are all tense, as this was the day that would decide Denny's future. Enzo says he later learned that Mr. Lawrence began with an impassioned opening statement, and the prosecution brought a string of witnesses, all cousins who had been at the cabin, who detailed Denny's predatory behavior with Annika. When Annika was called to the stand, she described every look and incidental touch, but said she had no idea what she was getting herself into and that she'd been tormented ever since.
Again, remember that this is all secondhand information and that we can't be entirely sure that this is the full truth. Annika constructs her story to play off her youth and the lack of understanding she had of the situation. It's implied that she understands more about the situation now, but it's unclear what changed, or if Denny's conversation with her made a difference.
Themes
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Enzo tells the reader that he would've asked in what way the events tormented her, by her innocence or by her guilt? Enzo reiterates that he wasn't there to ask, and continues that when Annika was done, nobody in the courtroom except for Denny was sure he hadn't assaulted Annika.
Annika's story was convincing enough that everyone without firsthand evidence of that night wonders what truly happened, further exploring the power of a story.
Themes
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Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Later in the afternoon, Enzo and Tony are at the cafe. Enzo is dozing as Tony pockets his cell phone. He tells Enzo that it was Mike, and the prosecutor asked for a special recess, which means something is happening. Tony and Enzo hurry to the courthouse. Enzo struggles with the pain, but Tony insists they keep moving. When they arrive at the courthouse, Annika is in the middle of a group of people outside, but as Tony approaches it starts to rain and the group hurries inside. Enzo notes that Annika is crying and winces when she notices Enzo, He wonders what's going on and wishes for an intervention from a movie star to make everything right again.
In Enzo's mind, a splash of drama from a charismatic movie star would have the power to make this confusing and tense situation make sense and end well. Consider that the logic of films often allows for exactly what Enzo is craving, while real life is usually more nuanced, mundane, and significantly less dramatic. Enzo's wish here demonstrates again how vitally important cinema and drama are to the way he makes sense of the world.
Themes
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Tony and Enzo escape the rain under an awning. Enzo wishes he could intervene in the courtroom, and Tony says they can't change anything now. Enzo wonders if that's true as he lies down on the wet concrete and falls asleep.
The characters are in the midst of an intense challenge as indicated by the rain. Enzo's sense of destiny comes into play as the reader wonders if he can manifest a positive outcome.
Themes
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Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Destiny and Spirituality Theme Icon
In Enzo's dream, Mr. Lawrence calls Enzo to the stand. The prosecution objects, but the judge asks if this dog can speak. Mr. Lawrence says that he uses Stephen Hawking's voice synthesizer, and the judge overrules the objection and swears Enzo in. Mr. Lawrence asks Enzo what happened that night, and Enzo, before answering, says that the truth lies in all of us, hidden in a hall of mirrors. He mentions a James Bond film in which Bond shatters mirrors to reveal the villain, and Enzo continues that we also must root out distortions until the truth stands before us.
Finally, Enzo gets the ability to not just speak, but to perform. He isn't human, but he is finally in full possession of the language he's spent the entire novel trying desperately to use. Note that even in his own performance, he recounts a film performance of James Bond. Even now, at his most human point, he still relies on what he's learned from film and drama to formulate his actions and words.
Themes
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Related Quotes
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Pausing, Enzo then says that Denny did nothing to Annika, but that it was clear that she loved Denny and offered herself to him, which Denny refused. The judge asks Annika if this is true, and she bursts into tears and drops her accusations. The judge dismisses the case and awards Denny custody of Zoë, and Denny, Zoë, and Enzo embrace.
Enzo makes it very clear that Annika was motivated by love for Denny, not simply evil intentions. His conception of the goodness and evil in humans is growing more nuanced.
Themes
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Enzo wakes to hear Denny's voice saying it's over. Denny continues and says that Annika recanted. Mike hugs Denny, and Denny cries. Tony thanks Mr. Lawrence, who says that he got Annika to admit that the story she'd been telling was what she'd hoped had happened, not what had actually happened.
Now that the trial has finished, Enzo's dream can be seen as a prophecy—or as him manifesting Denny's win.
Themes
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Destiny and Spirituality Theme Icon
Enzo glances around and sees Annika leaving the courthouse with her family. Enzo says he realized then that she wasn't bad, and that a driver can't be angry at another driver for a track incident—a driver can only be upset at himself for being there at the wrong time. Annika waves, and Enzo barks in reply.
Enzo realizes that Annika is not pure evil, which completes his understanding of what it means to be human. We all are composed of good and bad elements; there's a bit of both the zebra and Senna in all of us.
Themes
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Love and Family Theme Icon
Destiny and Spirituality Theme Icon