The zebra is Zoë's favorite stuffed animal, a toy Enzo never liked because it was his biggest rival for Zoë's love and attention. However, when Enzo is left at home without food for three days and begins hallucinating, the zebra comes to life in a living representation of the devil and evil. After this experience, the zebra returns when Enzo experiences fear or senses fear or evil in someone else. For much of the novel, Enzo believes that the zebra, or a corresponding demon, is truly alive, like he experienced during his hallucination. He believes it brings fear and mayhem with it, and is something to protect against. However, Enzo as well as the reader comes to realize that the zebra is actually symbolic of an evil and destructive force within individuals. Taken in this way, the zebra allows Enzo to flesh out a more nuanced conception of humanity, as he begins to understand that humans are not just pure good or evil. He comes to believe that there is a bit of the zebra in all of us, which gives humans something to work at and overcome.
Zoë's Zebra, the Demon Quotes in The Art of Racing in the Rain
Demon. Gremlin. Poltergeist. Ghost. Phantom. Spirit. Shadow. Ghoul. Devil. People are afraid of them so they relegate their existence to stories, volumes of books that can be closed and put on the shelf or left behind at a bed and breakfast; they clench their eyes shut so they will see no evil. But trust me when I tell you that the zebra is real. Somewhere, the zebra is dancing.