The Art of Racing in the Rain

The Art of Racing in the Rain

The Art of Racing in the Rain Chapter 7 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
After Eve became pregnant, Denny took a job behind the counter at a fancy auto shop that only worked on expensive German cars. Denny likes this job, but he and Enzo don't get to spend weekends together anymore. Some weekends, Denny teaches at high-performance driver's education programs put on by local car clubs, and often takes Enzo with him. Denny doesn't like teaching much because he doesn't get to drive, and it doesn't pay very well. He fantasizes about moving and trying to work at a big driving school so he can drive more, but Eve is very attached to Seattle and doesn't want to leave.
Denny feels a great sense of familial duty. He changes jobs so that he can better support his family, but doing so is in opposition to what he truly wants to do, which is be somewhere that's friendlier to the racing career he's half pursuing. His relationship with and love for Eve keeps him in Seattle for her sake, which is somewhat of a sacrifice on his part.
Themes
Love and Family Theme Icon
Several months after Zoë is born, Eve goes back to work. Denny offers to stay home and care for Zoë but Eve insists on putting Zoë in daycare. With everyone out of the house, Enzo is left home alone. He spends the hours napping and staring out the window at buses.
Enzo feels empty now that his family has moved on from those first few months at home. His previous feelings of connectedness are derailed now that everyone has gone.
Themes
Love and Family Theme Icon
One day, Denny checks the weather on the television in the morning and forgets to turn the TV off. Enzo is enthralled with the Weather Channel. He says it's not about weather, but rather it's about the world and how weather affects everything. When Denny returns that evening, Enzo is still watching, fascinated.
Enzo's world opens up with this introduction to the Weather Channel. Note too that while rain is not singled out, it's encompassed by the idea of weather. Enzo essentially overcame the rain of boredom.
Themes
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Denny asks Enzo what he's watching, as though he's asking Eve or Zoë. Eve and Zoë are in the kitchen making dinner, however, while Enzo is absorbed in watching flooding on the East Coast. Denny scoffs that Enzo is watching the Weather Channel, and changes the channel to the Speed Channel.
Denny's candid tone with Enzo indicates how close their relationship is and how human-like Enzo already seems.
Themes
What It Means to Be Human Theme Icon
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
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Enzo says that he watched plenty of TV prior to this moment, but only when others were already watching. He even taught himself some degree of literacy watching Sesame Street with Zoë, but until this day, he'd never watched TV by himself. Denny offers to leave the TV on during the day, but tells Enzo that he has to limit himself and not watch all day. This new habit changes his life. Having the TV on eliminates the tedium of Enzo's days, and his education takes off.
Language is so important to Enzo that he even tried, and halfway succeeded, in teaching himself to read. Had he been fully successful, he would've had one more way to interpret the human world around him. However, television fills that gap and allows him to learn about the world and conquer his boredom and emptiness.
Themes
What It Means to Be Human Theme Icon
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Being so immersed in his education, Enzo loses count of the weeks and is surprised when Zoë's second birthday arrives. Denny and Eve throw a party at their apartment, and Zoë calls Enzo her big brother. The children make a mess with cake on the floor, and Enzo gets to help Eve clean it up. Eve even seems uncharacteristically happy cleaning the cake, and the two race to clean everything.
At this moment, it seems as though Enzo and Eve's relationship is improving. Even at such a young age, Zoë and Enzo are very close, and Zoë sees Enzo as basically a human (her brother).
Themes
What It Means to Be Human Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
After the party is over, Denny has one last surprise birthday present. He shows Zoë a photo that she shows little interest in, but when he shows it to Eve, she starts to cry. They laugh and cry, and Denny shows Enzo the photo. It's of a house. Enzo is confused, but very soon there are boxes everywhere, and then his bed moves entirely. The house is small and Craftsman style, like Enzo had seen on This Old House. Eve and Denny love the house and spend the first night there naked in every room but Zoë's.
Enzo's "education" through television works into how he sees the world—as here he compares the house to something he's seen on TV. We also see the limits of Enzo's understanding of events as a dog, as he doesn't truly grasp the real meaning of the situation from just seeing the photo. It takes actually moving for it to sink in.
Themes
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Every day when Denny comes home from work, he greets Eve and Zoë and then takes Enzo outside to play fetch. When Zoë grows big enough, she and Enzo run and Enzo pretends to chase her. Eve doesn't like their game and tells Zoë that Enzo will bite her, but Enzo explains that he has willpower strong enough to overcome his primal instincts to chase and bite, and these instincts simply don't apply to him. Eve doesn't understand, though, so Enzo takes care to not play rough with Zoë.
Despite their moments of closeness like at Zoë's birthday party, Eve and Enzo are still somewhat at odds. Further, it's Enzo's inability to successfully communicate with Eve that keeps them this way. Notice too that Enzo is continuing to set himself above other dogs with his comment that he's above these base, primal instincts to chase and bite.
Themes
What It Means to Be Human Theme Icon
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Partially, Enzo doesn't want to give Eve anything to worry about because he can tell she’s sick. He can smell a bad, wet, soggy decay in her head when she feeds him, and knows there's something in Eve's head that's bad and doesn't belong. Enzo notes that had he a human tongue, he could've warned them of her condition long before the doctors discovered it. But Enzo doesn't have the ability to warn them. All he can do is watch. He'd been assigned to protect Zoë, but he realizes that nobody is there to protect Eve, and there's nothing he can do.
Enzo's existence as a dog has major upsides as well as major downsides. He knows something's wrong with Eve, even though she herself has no idea, but the fact that he's unable to communicate keeps him from saving her before it's too late.
Themes
What It Means to Be Human Theme Icon
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Illness and Death Theme Icon