The Art of Racing in the Rain Questions and Answers
by Garth Stein

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What does the boy tell Denny at the end of The Art of Racing in the Rain?

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Garth Stein's The Art of Racing in the Rain is a 2008 novel that was adapted as a film in 2019. This story is told from the point of view of a dog named Enzo.

Enzo describes his life with his owner, a man named Denny. Throughout the novel, the two go on many adventures and grow together as a family with Denny's wife and daughter. Throughout the novel, Enzo describes the idea of reincarnation and says that he hopes that when he dies, he returns as a human.

At the end of the novel, the boy says "The car goes where your eyes go". This is important to Denny because it is something that he would often say to Enzo, the dog, while driving with him. Enzo learned a lot from Denny and was able to meet him in his new life, reincarnated as a human boy.

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Enzo, the Italian boy, remarks to Denny that “the car goes where your eyes go,” a comment which is significant since it is what Denny would often say to his dog Enzo prior to his demise. The implication is that Enzo the dog, who had always nurtured the fond hope of being re-incarnated as a human, had achieved his wish, manifesting once again in Enzo the boy. Enzo the dog had been of the belief that in order to make sure he was re-incarnated, he would have to “prepare,” to learn as much as he could about being human during his dog’s life so that he would be ready to be born again as a human.

This he certainly did, learning through his owners some of humanity’s best aspects such as romance, child-raising, and the laws that humans operate to protect the most vulnerable in their societies. He also experiences worse aspects of humanity, the jealousy of Annika, and the mistrust of Denny’s grandparents, yet he demonstrates the doggish virtues of loyalty and compassion for his owner all through his life and is thus well enough prepared on the event of his death to become human.

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Kale Emmerich eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The little boy's words to Denny at the end of the story are to tell him his name and how he looks up to him and wants to be a racer himself, just like Denny. The exchange is extremely significant, however, in light of the rest of the story.

Enzo, the little boy's name, is the name of Denny's late dog, and the implication is that the young child is in fact Enzo, reincarnated. This idea brings Denny significant joy, as they have finally been reunited (as he hoped).

The last piece of dialogue is particularly poignant because the boy says "the car goes where your eyes go." While obvious, this is also a commentary on Denny's life; how he set his eyes on his future and how his ambition and success followed, bringing him to where he is today.

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Madeleine Wells eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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If you are referring to the epilogue, the little boy tells Denny that his name is Enzo, he is five years old, and that he also wants to become a champion.

"Si," the boy says. "Mi chiamo Enzo. Anch'io voglio diventare un campione."

Denny is visibly surprised when he learns the name of the boy, as Enzo was the name of his faithful, former dog. The words of the little boy are significant because they inform us that Enzo has finally been reincarnated into a human male, and his dream of finding and making Denny's acquaintance has been fulfilled.

The boy's last words to Denny are: "La macchina va dove vanno gli occhi."  (The car goes where your eyes go). These words are a fitting reminder of Enzo's personal motto throughout the story; success is achieved through perseverance, faith, and self-awareness. These are the attributes that propel Denny to the forefront of the Formula One world.

 

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