The Art of Racing in the Rain Chapters 53-56 Summary
by Garth Stein

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Chapters 53-56 Summary

Enzo is curious about Denny’s relationship with his parents. He does not hear any details until Mike comes over later and pulls the story out of Denny. Denny’s mother is blind and has been that way since Denny was a very young boy. Denny had been his mother’s main caretaker. When Denny graduated from school, he wanted to go away. But Denny’s father insisted that Denny stay at home to help run the farm and take care of his mother. When Denny decided to leave, his father told him that he would never again speak to him. Denny called every year at Christmas, but neither his mother nor his father would respond. Denny continued calling. Then when Eve died and Denny lost Zoe, he called his parents again and asked them for financial support so he could keep Zoe. Finally his mother said she would help him if Denny allowed her to see her granddaughter, to feel her face with her hands. That was why they had finally come to visit Denny.

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After his parents leave, Denny’s trial begins. Enzo is not allowed to attend, but he narrates what happened from the details he later gathered. Mr. Lawrence, Denny’s new lawyer, delivers an impassioned opening statement. He asserts that whereas rape is considered an act of power, so too is a baseless allegation. He then pledges to prove Denny’s innocence.

After the main part of the trial begins, the prosecution brings forth several witnesses who are all members of Annika’s extended family who had stayed at the mountain resort while Denny was there. They all accuse Denny of flirting with Annika and taking advantage of every moment to be near her. They attest that Annika flirted back, but she was a child and he was an adult. Denny should have known better. Each of the witnesses tells more and more convincing stories. Finally, the prosecutor calls Annika.

Annika testifies that she flirted with Denny. She also lists all the times he made passes. She said that as a child, she did not really know what she was doing or what her actions meant. Afterward, she claims, the whole affair tormented her. She does not explain what form this torment took, but her words do a lot of damage to Denny’s case. At the end of the trial, all the people in the courtroom seem to believe Denny is guilty. Enzo says that even Denny begins to doubt himself.

(The entire section is 636 words.)