Raymond's Run Questions and Answers
by Toni Cade Bambara

Raymond's Run book cover
Start Your Free Trial

Describe the relationship between Raymond and Squeaky in "Raymond's Run."

Expert Answers info

Heather Garey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write406 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Science, and History

In Toni Cade Bambara's short story, "Raymond's Run," Squeaky, whose real name is Hazel Elizabeth Deborah Parker, is the younger sister of Raymond, who is mentally challenged. Squeaky's main job is to take care of Raymond, and he goes everywhere with her. Raymond admires Squeaky, and Squeaky is fiercely protective and proud of Raymond. 

Sometimes I slip and say my little brother Raymond. But as any fool can see he’s much bigger and he’s older too. But a lot of people call him my little brother cause he needs looking after cause he’s not quite right. And a lot of smart mouths got lots to say about that too, especially when George was minding him. But now, if anybody has anything to say to Raymond, anything to say about his big head, they have to come by me.

The above quote shows Squeaky's protective qualities. She also shows these throughout the story with the things she does to keep Raymond safe. He doesn't have much regard for safety, and can't understand the danger he places himself in when he does things like run to a median in the road to see the pigeons. Squeaky always requires him to walk on the inside of her, closest to the buildings, in order to keep him safe.

Raymond loves and admires his sister. The evidence for this is that he listens to her and participates with her in the breathing exercises she does when they are out and about. He also runs with her everywhere she goes. Raymond doesn't say anything throughout the story, but his actions show his devotion to and love for his sister. 

The best glimpse we get into Squeaky and Raymond's relationship comes when Raymond is at the race with Squeaky toward the end of the story. 

Then I hear Raymond yanking at the fence to call me and I wave to shush him, but he keeps rattling the fence like a gorilla in a cage like in them gorilla movies, but then like a dancer or something he starts climbing up nice and easy but very fast. And it occurs to me, watching how smoothly he climbs hand over hand and remembering how he looked running with his arms down to his side and with the wind pulling his mouth back and his teeth showing and all, it occurred to me that Raymond would make a very fine runner. . . And I’m smiling to beat the band cause if I’ve lost this race, or if me and Gretchen tied, or even if I’ve won, I can always retire as a runner and begin a whole new career as a coach with Raymond as my champion.

During the race, Squeaky says she almost stopped to watch her brother's first run. This is significant considering how competitive Squeaky is' before this moment in the story, it seems like nothing will stop her from her desire to win. It shows that Raymond is more important to Squeaky than her running. It is also significant that after watching Raymond's run, she conceives the idea to give up her running and train Raymond. This is self-sacrificing, and the definition of love.

Raymond shows his love by wanting to be near Squeaky. He shows his admiration for her by running like she does. Squeaky had never seen him run before that day. It fills her with pride in her brother and overshadows her pride in herself.

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial