Raymond's Run Questions and Answers
by Toni Cade Bambara

Raymond's Run book cover
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Discuss Hazel's new aspirations for Raymond, Gretchen, and herself in "Raymond's Run". 

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  • 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. After all, with a little more study I can beat Cynthia and her phony self at the spelling bee. And if I bugged my mother, I could get piano lessons and become a star. And I have a big rep as the baddest thing around.

Here are Hazel's thoughts as she is coming to the finish line of the race.  She imagines that she can shift her interest in running to Raymond, so that he can earn some ribbons, and that she could then put energy into succeeding at school and pursuing new interests.  For Gretchen, she indicates a desire to have her as a friend, imagining that they can be "people" together, instead of competitors.

The theme here is individuality.  For Raymond to have some ribbons would be for him to create an identity beyond being the disabled boy.  For Gretchen and Hazel, to share smiles and enjoy a friendship, to be people, is to also be individuals and not role players.  For Hazel, to pursue new interests like the spelling bee and the piano is also an attempt to identify her own individuality.  The metaphor Hazel uses in the end - "maybe we too busy being flowers and fairies" - demonstrates the need to break out of a particular category and create a unique personality.

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