The Art of Racing in the Rain Symbols, Allegory and Motifs

The Art of Racing in the Rain Symbols, Allegory and Motifs


From the first chapter it becomes clear that for Enzo, the television is synonym with knowledge. For him, the things he knows about the outside world were all learned by watching the TV and so for him, the TV became a symbol for knowledge and a bridge with the outside world.


A motif in the novel is the idea that Enzo can smell and figure out when something is wrong with someone and he can also tell what type of day his owner had by just smelling him. In the first chapter for example, he was able to tell that something happened during the day because his owner smelled like beer. Another instance is when Enzo knows instinctively that something is wrong with Eva by just smelling her.


Another motif found in the novel is the idea the communication is hard between Enzo and Denny. The barrier that exists between them makes it hard for Denny to understand Enzo even if Enzo understands Denny perfectly. More than often, Enzo fells frustrated to see that his attempts to communicate with Denny have been misunderstood and misinterpreted as something completely different than what he intended it to be.

Capitalist society

The first man Enzo comes in contact with is his breeder, a man he calls the alpha male. Enzo describes the man as being materialistic and wanting to earn as much money as possible from the dogs he has. The way the owner is described here is not coincidental as the alpha male is used as a symbol for the capitalist way of thinking, focused only on profit. The man is almost dehumanized by his greed and this suggests that capitalist and materialism destroys the natural way of living.


Enzo often feels frustrated for not being able to do more for his human companions. Enzo thinks how he can’t properly comfort Denny when he needs it and how he can’t tell that he knows there is something wrong with Eve by just smelling her. His inability to communicate affects Enzo and he often thinks how much better it would be if he were able to tell what it on his mind. These feelings are a common motif in the novel as well as Enzo’s desire to communicate with his owners.

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