“She was my fear. But a racer should not be afraid of rain; a racer should embrace the rain” ( 44). Why does Enzo refer to Eve as his ‘rain?’
-Enzo refers to Eve as his rain because she’s like the rain that Denny talks about racing in. Like the rain, Eve is an obstacle that enters Enzo’s path that he has to react and adapt to. In the end, Enzo comes to appreciate and love Eve just as Denny has become fond with racing in the rain.
“Did he really believe that, or was he lying to himself?” (60). What’s the context here? Why might Denny be ‘lying’ to himself about Eve?
-Denny might be lying to himself about Eve because he doesn’t want to believe that she may have just left Enzo at home for multiple days, even if she was ill. It seems that in the back of Denny’s head he may believe that Eve is lying, but he doesn’t want to cause any more problems with her or Enzo. Denny wants to believe Eve that she wasn’t able to think and she left him at home accidentally.
“But trust me when I tell you the zebra is real. Somewhere, the zebra is dancing” (66). What do you think the zebra represents for Enzo?
-I think that to Enzo the zebra represents the evil dog side of him. Enzo finds himself to be very human and to not have many of the traits that other dogs have. While Eve and Zoe are at the hospital and Denny traveling for work Enzo goes into Zoe’s room and turns to the dog side of him, as he rips up some of her toys including the zebra. From Enzo’s eyes, this is a different situation. The zebra starts humping the other toys and ripping them up, then rips himself up. As I said, Enzo was hallucinating and all of this was the side of him that he hates, that all people have in different ways.
- Why did Stein include chapter 47? What is its significance? Why have there been so many references to Ayrton Senna throughout the novel?
-Chapter 47 in Racing In the Rain is an important chapter towards the end of the book. This chapter talks about Ayrton Senna and how when he died he was very young as one of the best racers in the world. In the book, Enzo explained how when Senna died, he has finished serving is purpose on earth. As we get closer to the end of the book, this chapter seems like a foreshadowing of what is to come for Enzo. Enzo has already mentioned earlier in the book about next lives after you have completed the one you are currently in, like becoming a man in your next life. This seems like another example of something that could happen to Enzo in the future after he finishes serving his purpose. After Enzo got hit by a car a bit earlier in the book, he could have died. If he had completed all he needed to in this life he could have left his body right there and move along his journey to become a human, or whatever was to come next. But Enzo had not yet finished his purpose, and there was more left for him to do before he left.
"The race is long. It is better to drive within oneself and finish the race behind the others than it is to drive too hard and crash" (291).
-This quote relates strongly to Denny’s situation in the book, The Art of Racing In the Rain. Denny’s life became very rough after his wife Eve’s death. He could not believe that someone so special to him had passed and was just focusing on dealing with all of this emotional pain. During this time, Eve’s parents began slowly taking control of Denny’s daughter’s life. It started when Eve came back from the hospital and her parents insisted that she stay with them. Denny agreed after some thought but was more reluctant with saying yes when they asked for Zoe, Denny’s daughter, to stay with them as well. Throughout the time around Eve’s death the grandparents began trying to take more and more control of Zoe’s life slowly, until they made an attempt to get full custody of her shortly after Eve died. Denny was blown away. He couldn’t believe this along with a rape accusation that followed shortly after. During the time of figuring this mess out, Denny had to make sure not to “drive to hard and crash”. He had to take it slow and make sure he didn’t make a dumb choice that could take his daughter away from himself forever. Denny starting “speeding up” a few times, where he started drifting away from the things he really believed in, but in the end he played it smart and got custody of his daughter. It was a long race for denny, but he made the right choice to drive from within and not force anything and run his car of life into a wall and crash.
A Whole New Perspective
Who knew a dog could provide such important insights about humanity? The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein, tells the story of a dog and the lessons he learns about humanity and racing throughout his life. Enzo is an abnormally smart dog who stands by his owner Denny, a semi-professional race car driver. He supports him throughout his whole life, even when the road gets rough. Enzo shows us some key components about humanity throughout the book. Over the course of the novel, Enzo teaches us that control and commitment are two important parts of the human experience.
One important lesson that Enzo teaches us about humanity is to take advantage of what we can control. Early in the book when Denny is first getting into his racing career he has a conversation with his wife Eve. They were watching a tape of Denny racing in the rain and coming out of nowhere to pass tons of drivers and win the race. Eve asks some questions about how Denny was able to race in the rain so much better than the other drivers. He later describes something that Enzo had heard him say before.
“That which we manifest is before us; we are the creators of our own destiny. Be it through intention or ignorance, our successes and our failures have been brought on by none other than ourselves” (43). Throughout the novel, Denny continues to follow this statement, and Enzo even begins following utilizing his control as well. Enzo realizes his constraints as a dog and tries to make the most of the control he has over his life. Denny faces multiple challenges later in his life in which he can’t do anything to change the outcome directly. During these times Denny makes sure to do what he can with what he has control over. After Eve’s death, her parents try to sue Denny for custody of his daughter. Denny fights non stop for his daughter even throughout rape allegations and Denny’s parents in law slowly taking everything away from him. At this point, Denny has almost nothing left he can change but he makes sure to take advantage of the few things he has control over in his life.
“We had no money left. They had sucked him dry. Mark had threatened to cease working for Denny’s defense. There was little else Denny could do” (247). Denny almost falls into the traps the grandparents set multiple times. He had so little control that he starts falling apart and giving up on all he believes in. At one point Denny was about to sign papers that would only give him Zoe for a few weeks a year when Enzo decides to jump up on the table and rip the papers up. Denny understands the message Enzo is sending and decides not to sign the papers. In the end, Denny does all he can and follows through with an amazing outcome, one that most people would think is impossible. Along with control, there is a second crucial lesson that Enzo teaches us in the book.
This other important lesson we learn from Enzo about humanity is the significance of committing to what is important. After Denny is informed of the rape allegations against him he starts losing hope. He goes home and pours a drink of liquor for himself. Enzo begins barking at him, but Denny says Enzo’s job was to support him, not judge him. Enzo can’t believe Denny was giving up and went to lay by himself in Zoe’s room. Once again, Denny understands what Enzo is trying to say and throws his drink away. “No race had ever been won in the first corner, he said. But plenty of races have been lost there” (206). Denny realizes that even though it wasn’t going amazing up to this point, anything could happen and the whole situation could change. Denny knew what he wanted and what was right. He had decided on the outcome he was going to get, which was full custody of Zoe.
Denny was dealing with so much. Earlier in the book when Eve was feeling ill, he took over almost all of the tasks in and out of the house that Eve had been splitting with him. Denny cut back his hours at work so he could take Zoe to school. He also did all of the cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, and all of the other errands the household needed to continue functioning. “It makes us realize that the physicality of our world is a boundary to us only if our will is weak; a true champion can accomplish things that a normal person would think impossible” (65). Denny ends up dealing with a tough situation, most of us could only imagine. His life falls increasingly more and more into pieces throughout the book. Throughout most of this time, Denny is not able to do anything about what happens to his life. It seems that right when Eve is diagnosed with cancer, Denny makes a promise to himself to give Zoe the best life possible. In the back of his head, he knows where Eve is headed which gives him even more reason to care for Zoe. He becomes committed to do everything he can for her and even risk the rest of his life just to get her back. Zoe becomes his life. She becomes his number one priority. Commitment is a huge factor for Denny to get the outcome he wants in his life, as it is the only concept that keeps him going at times.
Utilizing the control we have and making commitments that we stick to were important themes throughout the book. Over the course of the novel, Denny made sure to follow these two themes even when it wasn’t easy for him. He stays determined to get custody of Zoe throughout the book and made sure to use all of the control he had, even when he barely had any. In life, it is incredibly important to stay committed to the things that will make your life better and are important to you. Sometimes in life, there will be twists and turns that don’t leave many options, but the best outcome will always be there for the people who keep going and take advantage of everything they have control of.
From reading over my writing I have noticed that I like to give a broad statement, then dive into it and get more into depth. I like to think critically about something simple I say and give it an important meaning. I find myself repeating vocab when I’m writing sometimes, but it doesn’t show up most of the time in my final drafts because I try to change it up the most possible. As I said, I like to get specific in my writing. Because of this, I use lots of adjectives to make different parts of my writing stand out more or to emphasize it more. I try to use the most descriptive and captivating verbs I can think so I do not need to drag on sentences for too long. I think that it is much more efficient and interesting to read one or two powerful words than a whole sentence that says the same thing. I have always used commas a substantial amount. I think it’s in my writing style how I state something and follow up with a deeper description after a comma. During this term, I have learned a lot about how to write better and how I personally write most of the time.