At the beginning of Toni Cade Bambara's "Raymond's Run," what does Squeaky reveal about her family and her own responsibility in the family?
The reader discovers that Squeaky does not need to do housework: her mother does it. She does not have to "hustle" to make money: her brother George does this by running errands for older kids and selling greeting cards at Christmas. Their father works. Squeaky has only one responsibility: she is in charge of keeping an eye on her brother Raymond who is disabled. Her brother George originally had the job, but he failed to watch Raymond closely enough, so the job was given to Squeaky.
But a lot people call him my little brother 'cause he needs looking after 'cause he's not quite right. And a lot of smart mouths gots lots to say about that too, especially when George was minding him. But now, if anybody has anything to say to Raymond, anything about his big head, they have to come by me.
Squeaky (as she is called because of her voice) is a young girl who knows what she needs and wants to do, and takes it all very seriously. While she is deeply interested in running and training for the race at school, she also knows that she must keep a close eye on Raymond to make certain he does not come to harm. For example, he is hard to keep up with when he decides to dart across the road to scare the pigeons in the park, as well as those sitting there eating their lunch.
Then I have to go behind him apologizing to all the old people sitting around trying to get some sun and getting all upset with the pigeons fluttering around them, scattering their newspapers and upsetting the wax-paper lunches in their laps.
Raymond is harmless, lost in his own world of pretend. Squeaky has no difficulty in speaking up for herself, and she uses this strength to protect Raymond from the unkindness of others. Squeaky cares for her brother and works hard to guarantee his safety and wellbeing.
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