Raymond's Run Questions and Answers
by Toni Cade Bambara

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How does Squeaky react when she sees Raymond running parallel to her in the race?

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Squeaky's race is a sprint, so she doesn't have much time on the actual course to look around. What's great about the writing is that it gives the reader the impression of everything happening in slow motion. This concept is a common description from many athletes, and it's often referred to as being "in the zone." Squeaky is in that zone, and despite her 50 meter race being over in less than a dozen seconds, she takes in a tremendous amount of information. She looks one direction and sees Gretchen, but the detail is amazing. Squeaky notices that Gretchen's chin is jutting out unbelievably far. It's a bit funny, but Squeaky stays focused on her run. Then Squeaky looks the other direction and sees Raymond. When she sees him, Squeaky is shocked by what she sees. She is so shocked that she nearly stops running.

And on the other side of the fence is Raymond with his arms down to his side and the palms tucked up behind him, running in his very own style, and it’s the first time I ever saw that and I almost stop to watch my brother Raymond on his first run.

Squeaky immediately refocuses herself on the race and wins it. It's not until after she catches her breath that she analyzes and breaks down what she saw. Raymond, despite his handicap and unique running style, was keeping up with her. Additionally, she describes that his running was smooth and efficient looking, and Squeaky realizes that her brother would make a "very fine runner."

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. Doesn’t he always keep up with me on my trots? And he surely knows how to breathe in counts of seven cause he’s always doing it at the dinner table, which drives my brother George up the wall.

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While Squeaky is engrossed in the race, she looks one way to check on Gretchen’s progress and the other to see if anyone is close to her. Out of the corner of her eye, she sees her brother matching her stride for stride even though he is running on the other side of the fence. Raymond has a unique running style Squeaky has never witnessed before. The sight of Raymond almost stops her in her tracks, but she can see the white ribbon of the finish line and refocuses on winning the race.

It is not until after the race that Squeaky fully feels and expresses her emotions. She laughs as Raymond scales the fence and runs over to her, and she allows her exuberant pride for him to show.

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