Where in "Raymond's Run" by Toni Cade Bambara is it suggested that Squeaky does not think girls can be true friends?

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beateach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Toni Cade Bambara’s short story “Raymond’s Run,” Hazel Elizabeth Deborah Parker, also known as Squeaky, does not believe that girls can be friends. She believes girls are not taught to be true friends because they lack female, adult role models to teach them how to genuinely relate to each other. The women in her life do not possess this skill. Before the race, this becomes evident when she meets Gretchen on the street.

Gretchen smiles, but it’s not a smile, and I’m thinking that girls never really smile at each other because they don’t know how and don’t want to know how and there’s probably no one to teach us how, cause grown-up girls don’t know either.

After the adversaries meet in the May Day race, Squeaky has an epiphany. Not only does Raymond match her stride for stride in the race, but Gretchen comes in a very close second. Squeaky immediately feels respect for Gretchen. Gretchen is dedicated to her running and is proficient at it. When Squeaky realizes this, she turns to Gretchen and gives her a “real” smile showing her ability to seek friendship based on mutual respect. She realizes it takes time and effort to be friends, just as it takes practice to be a great runner. Instead of being something you are not, Squeaky understands it is important to be true to yourself and to find commonality with others to be true friends.

And I look over at Gretchen wondering what the “P” stands for. And I smile. Cause she’s good, no doubt about it. Maybe she’d like to help me coach Raymond; she obviously is serious about running, as any fool can see. And she nods to congratulate me and then she smiles. And I smile. We stand there with this big smile of respect between us. It’s about as real a smile as girls can do for each other, considering we don’t practice real smiling every day, you know, cause maybe we too busy being flowers or fairies or strawberries instead of something honest and worthy of respect . . . you know . . . like being people.

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Raymond's Run

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