Study Guide

The Art of Racing in the Rain Death

By Garth Stein


Death is like that one topic that we don't want to talk about, ever. It's a natural part of life, sure, but it's not fun. It's scary, it's unknown, it's sad, and it signals an ending. There are a lot of endings in this book, and most of them have to do with death. So as much as we don't want to, we have to talk about it.

Death, and the way humans deal with it is all over The Art of Racing in the Rain. By telling the story of a man's life from the perspective of a dying dog, the book taps into the beauty of life, not just the sadness of death. In this book, life is what matters, but without the finality of death and the fragility of life, life itself wouldn't be nearly as important or valuable as it is.

Questions About Death

  1. When Enzo wonders at the end of his life whether he has wasted his "dogness," does it seem like he believes that he has?
  2. Why does Eve decide to celebrate the first day that she "doesn't feel dead"? What does this signify?
  3. Why is Denny not allowed to go to Eve's funeral?

Chew on This

Eve knew she couldn't hold on any longer than she did, mostly because she had listened to the doctors who had diagnosed her. Maybe she knew all along what was wrong with her, and that's why she didn't want to go to the doctor all those times Denny tried to convince her.

Maybe Denny has also come back in a new form, just like Enzo eventually does. How else could we explain his racing chops?