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“The Art of Racing in the Rain” and “A Dog’s Purpose”: Comparison

Introduction

To be truly happy, an individual should have or, at least, seek a genuine value that makes his or her life full-fledged and gives it a significant meaning. Undoubtedly, one of such worth is unconditional, real, and sincere love that can be manifested in different forms, including friendship, intimate or familial love, love for pets or nature, and love for business or hobby. This paper aims at examining the connection of the book “The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein and the film “A Dog’s Purpose” by Lasse Hallstrom to love’s importance in human life.

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The Art of Racing in the Rain

In the book, Stein introduces multiple forms of love, the first of which is a friendship that occurs between Denny Swift, a race car driver, and Enzo, his dog. During their acquaintance, an electric charge arises between these characters, linking their views and inducing a powerful attraction. Over time, their connection only strengthens, and, eventually, they both do not imagine their life without each other. Enzo is passionate about Denny’s hobby, that is, car racing, and helps him in his accomplishments and failures. Furthermore, the dog becomes an indispensable companion in Denny’s life trials, especially when the Denny has to endure Eve’s cancer development, related troubles, and death. The author also manages to show minor problems that most friends face, for example, Enzo’s jealousy of Eve for her occupying the central niche in Denny’s life.

The second love brightly and simultaneously sorrowfully revealed in the novel is the romantic love between Denny and Eve. Denny’s and Eve’s relationship advances rapidly, and even Enzo finds himself in the background, to his regret. Moreover, even when Trish and Maxwell, Eve’s parents, try to thwart their relationships, neither Eve nor their daughter Zoe falters in love for Denny, displaying love’s quality to thrive despite adversity. On the ground of Denny’s and Eve’s love, Stein concerns the theme of family, where love plays a critical significance. In particular, Zoe acts as a connecting link reconciling and consolidating all the main characters into one whole. The birth of Zoe persuades Enzo to soften toward Eve and accept her into the family. Enzo’s words, “Eve had assigned me to protect Zoë no matter what, but no one had been assigned to protect Eve. And there was nothing I could do to help her,” show this idea clearly (Stein 46). Finally, even when the family becomes separated because of Eve’s disease, Enzo realizes that despite their hardships and forced and temporary parting, his family will be together forever due to the shared love.

A Dog’s Purpose

The topic of friendship is also tracked throughout the whole film, which is similar to “The Art of Racing in the Rain.” Moreover, the director intensifies his focus on this theme and attempts to indicate that devotion and willingness to serve take central places in people’s lives. These ideas are revealed in several plot lines tightly connected with a dog that reincarnates and serves different owners. First, the dog, reborn as a Golden Retriever and given the name Bailey, makes a close friendship with Ethan and accompanies him to his own death (Hallström). In the subsequent reincarnations, the dog faithfully serves widowed officer Carlos Ruiz and even gives his life protecting Carlos and helps Maya find true love. In the final reincarnation, after being abandoned, he decides to find and reunite with his old master Ethan who becomes aged. These all episodes explicitly specify that friendship is primarily expressed via service and help to others and that this is the genuine meaning of human life.

Besides, in the film, one of the dog’s primary purposes is to be an essential part of multiple families. For instance, when the dog bonds with Ethan, he, along with his owner, go through pleasant familial moments and all their turmoil, including problems with drinking father and Ethan’s split with his girl Hannah. In addition, in life with Maya, an Atlanta college student, he becomes an integral member of her large and happy family that comprises her three children and husband (Hallström). However, the theme of familial love is unfolded more sparingly than in the book “The Art of Racing in the Rain,” where the family acquires crucial significance in the plot.

It is also worth noting that Hallstrom successfully incorporates the concept of death and associates it with the theme of love. Nevertheless, in contrast to the first work, where death is inevitable and climactic, this phenomenon becomes impotent in “A Dog’s Purpose” and cannot sever the connection between the dog and Ethan. Passing through numerous reincarnations, the dog cherishes the memory of his first true owner and preserves the devotion to him even when the latter does not recognize him first. This is an immensely subtle point since it implicitly indicates the eternity of sincere love.

Conclusion

In summary, the paper has examined the connection of the book “The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein and the film “A Dog’s Purpose” by Lasse Hallstrom to love’s importance in human life. In particular, the first work primarily discovers love in the forms of friendship, intimacy, and family that are related to the main characters, such as Denny, Enzo, Eve, and Zoe. Despite all controversies, troubles, and tests, their love manages not only to survive but strengthen. In the second work, the main heroes become familiar with love principally through friendship that develops between the dog and his different owners, especially Ethan. Overall, the close acquaintance with the book and the film gives me unforgettable impressions and helps me comprehend the value and benefit of love that can be manifested only via service to others.

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Work Cited

Hallström, Lasse, director. A Dog’s Purpose. Universal Pictures and Mister Smith Entertainment, 2017.

Stein, Garth. The Art of Racing in the Rain. HarperCollins, 2008.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, June 9). “The Art of Racing in the Rain” and “A Dog’s Purpose”: Comparison. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/the-art-of-racing-in-the-rain-and-a-dogs-purpose-comparison/

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StudyCorgi. (2022, June 9). “The Art of Racing in the Rain” and “A Dog’s Purpose”: Comparison. https://studycorgi.com/the-art-of-racing-in-the-rain-and-a-dogs-purpose-comparison/

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StudyCorgi. "“The Art of Racing in the Rain” and “A Dog’s Purpose”: Comparison." June 9, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/the-art-of-racing-in-the-rain-and-a-dogs-purpose-comparison/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "“The Art of Racing in the Rain” and “A Dog’s Purpose”: Comparison." June 9, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/the-art-of-racing-in-the-rain-and-a-dogs-purpose-comparison/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) '“The Art of Racing in the Rain” and “A Dog’s Purpose”: Comparison'. 9 June.

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