How does Squeaky feel about the May Day celebration?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Squeaky finds parts of the May Day celebration frivolous and inappropriate for her inner city neighborhood.

Perhaps because Squeaky has the responsibility of protecting her brother, she has lost some of the imaginative spirit of childhood and is more practical about things. For instance, she feels that the May Pole celebration has no serious value and is hardly worth the purchase of a frilly dress. She cannot understand why her mother is not glad that she is not

prancing around a May Pole getting the new clothes all dirty and sweaty and trying to act like a fairy or a flower or whatever you’re supposed to be when you should be trying to be yourself.

Unfortunately, Squeaky's protection of her brother seems to have caused her to become more skeptical of people's motives and to be concerned with practicalities rather than some of the frivolous, but delightful activities of childhood. She focuses her life on her success as a runner, a success which allows her to be proud of herself and allows some escape from the harsh realities of her life. Before a race, Squeaky allows her imagination the freedom that she does not give it otherwise.

I dream I’m flying over a sandy beach in the early morning sun, kissing the leaves of the trees as I fly by.

During the May Day race, Squeaky notices for the first time how quickly her brother Raymond is capable of running and what an exceptional runner he may become if she trains him. This idea helps to free Squeaky of some of her cynicism, so she smiles and laughs as she considers her new plans to train Raymond and develop other talents that she herself possesses.

teachsuccess eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Squeaky isn't especially enthusiastic about the May Day celebration. She takes her time getting to the park on May Day because the track meet is the last event of the program, and that is the only event she wants to participate in.

Squeaky especially wants to avoid the May Pole dancing. She thinks that dressing up in a "white organdy dress with a big satin sash" is a waste of time, since the dress will eventually get dirty. Also, May Day occurs only once a year; in Squeaky's opinion, the expense of a pretty dress is unjustified, especially since she won't be able to fit into it the next year. She also doesn't like the idea of dressing up for the sake of pretending to be something she's not.

For example, she relates how she once dressed up as a strawberry in a Hansel and Gretel pageant in nursery school. Squeaky explains that she felt pretty uncomfortable with the whole affair. The reality is that she prefers to run; that's what she's good at, and that's what she prefers to do. So, the only event that makes the May Day celebrations tolerable for Squeaky is the fifty-yard dash.