How does Squeaky compare herself to Cynthia in "Raymond's Run" by Toni Cade Bambara?

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auntlori's profile pic

Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

You have already received an excellent answer, above, and I would just add two other elements to the discussion. In "Raymond's Run" by Toni Cade Bambara, Squeaky certainly speaks her mind--about everything. One of those things is people who, like Cynthia, make a dramatic production out of the things she has chosen to excel at and try to downplay the hard work it takes to achieve excellence. 

Her description of Cynthia is reminiscent of what is known as a "drama queen," someone who pretends and fakes and acts ridiculous over things she should be proud to have worked hard to achieve.

And she’ll clutch the lace on her blouse like it was a narrow escape. Oh, brother. But of course when I pass her house on my early morning trots around the block, she is practicing the scales on the piano over and over and over and over. Then in music class she always lets herself get bumped around so she falls accidentally on purpose onto the piano stool and is so surprised to find herself sitting there that she decides just for fun to try out the ole keys. And what do you know—Chopin’s waltzes just spring out of her fingertips and she’s the most surprised thing in the world. A regular prodigy.

Squeaky is nothing like that. She does not feign inexperience or natural ability; instead she works hard to excel and does not care if everyone knows it. In fact, she says:

I stay up all night studying the words for the spelling bee. And you can see me any time of day practicing running. I never walk if I can trot.

The image of Squeaky and her brother Raymond walking--I mean trotting--everywhere is both amusing and encouraging. This image is much more inspiring than Cynthia's dramatic efforts to seem unrehearsed, and Squeaky is much more honest, as well. 

Sources:
aszerdi's profile pic

aszerdi | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted on

Squeaky describes herself as someone who is genuine. When a specific task is difficult for her, she practices and studies. She is never ashamed of the hard work she has to put in to be successful. Squeaky contrasts herself with Cynthia who she calls a phony. Cynthia behaves as though the things she excels in come without any hard work although she too must put a large degree of effort to be accomplished. Further textual evidence can be found below.

"Now some people like to act like things come easy to them, won’t let on that they practice. Not me. . .  Now you take Cynthia Procter for instance. She’s just the opposite. If there’s a test tomorrow, she’ll say something like, “Oh, I guess I’ll play handball this afternoon and watch television tonight,” just to let you know she ain’t thinking about the test. . . But of course when I pass her house on my early morning trots around the block, she is practicing the scales on the piano over and over and over and over. Then in music class she always lets herself get bumped around so she falls accidentally on purpose onto the piano stool and is so surprised to find herself sitting there that she decides just for fun to try out the ole keys. And what do you know—Chopin’s waltzes just spring out of her fingertips and she’s the most surprised thing in the world. A regular prodigy. I could kill people like that."

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