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In Toni Cade Bambara's short story "Raymond's Run," Squeaky overcomes her challenges by sheer force of will.
While other children of the neighborhood have chores to do, Squeaky's responsibility is to take care of her brother.
...he needs looking after 'cause he's not quite right.
One of the challenges that Squeaky has to over come (on Raymond's behalf) is protecting him from "smart mouths." Her bother George had the job before Squeaky, but wasn't good at protecting his brother. Now that Squeaky is in charge, if someone has something to say, she isn't one to stand around talking about it:
I much rather just knock you down and take my chances even if I am a little girl with skinny arms and a squeaky voice...And if things get too rough, I run. And as anybody can tell you, I'm the fastest thing on two feet.
Raymond likes to pretend and Squeaky has to be pretty quick to keep up with him so that he doesn't dart across traffic (which he sometimes manages to do). Because she spends so much time with Raymond, it is hard for Squeaky to workout—she is passionate about her running, and she's very good. To overcome this challenge, she works out while walking or running with Raymond—like when he pretends to be a stagecoach driver.
At the end of the story, Squeaky has the realization that winning another race is not that important. All along she has seen her little brother Raymond as someone with mental and physical challenges. She has seen him as her responsibility, but she has never seen him as a person.
Unaware of this personal challenge, she sees Raymond running in time with her during her race, on the other side of the fence. After the race, he gingerly climbs the fence. Suddenly she realizes that she can be good at a number of other things, including keeping her "big rep as the baddest thing around," but Raymond doesn't have anything of his own. Squeaky decides that she is going to coach her brother, "a great runner in the family tradition."
She realizes that too often we are too busy doing other things...
...instead of something honest and worthy of respect...you know, like being people.
Raymond, Squeaky now understands, is a person—not the disability that he lives with. And that is "honest and worthy of respect."
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