In "Raymond's Run," which theme is shown most clearly?

The short story "Raymond's Run" has several themes, including the coming of age or maturation of the main character, Squeaky; the importance of persistence and practice in pursuing your dreams; loyalty to family; and the importance of understanding people so that they become friends and not enemies.

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In the short story "Raymond's Run" by Toni Cade Bambara, the narrator is a girl named Hazel Elizabeth Deborah Parker, whose nickname is Squeaky. She loves to run, practices as much as she can, and wins all the local yearly races. She is responsible for taking care of her brother Raymond, who is older than her but "not quite right," meaning he is mentally disabled. Although she is slim and small, she is willing to stand up for and defend her brother, which she demonstrates when a group of girls approaches and attempts to make fun of him. Squeaky enters the May Day race for her age category and wins. However, as she runs, she notices Raymond running with her along the sideline, and she decides it will be more fun and fulfilling to coach Raymond than to keep winning races for herself.

One of the most important themes is the coming of age of Squeaky. Coming of age refers to a milestone in life when someone transitions from childhood to adulthood. This applies to Squeaky because of what happens at the end of the story. In the beginning she is caught up in herself, in her talent of running, and in her practice. Her brother Raymond is merely tagging along in her wake. Running even puts her into a wonderful dreamlike state. However, when she realizes that it might be more fulfilling to coach Raymond rather than continue pursuing her own victories, she passes into a stage of maturity in which someone else's happiness and well-being is more important than her own.

Another theme, especially in the first part of the story, is the importance of persistence when you are pursuing what you believe in. Squeaky displays this persistence in always practicing her running technique and her breathing exercises.

There is also the theme of loyalty to family. Squeaky faithfully cares for her brother Raymond and is willing to stand up to bullies and fight to protect him from harassment. Bambara later expands on the bullying incident by introducing another theme after the race concerning the desirability of reconciling with rather than fighting an enemy.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on

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