In Toni Cade Bambara's short story "Raymond's Run," compare Raymond's and Squeaky's personalities.
Squeaky is in charge of her brother Raymond, to make sure he is safe as he plays and to keep unkind people away from him. Squeaky loves Raymond and takes her job quite seriously. If anyone says anything unkind to her brother, her response is immediate and concise:
I’m ready to fight, cause like I said I don’t feature a whole lot of chit-chat, I much prefer to just knock you down right from the jump and save everybody a lotta precious time.
By the end of the story, the reader discovers that Squeaky (as much as she loves running) loves her brother deeply. She is extremely excited to discover that he also loves to run. She decides to give it all up to work with Raymond. As she sees it...
...what has Raymond got to call his own?
We also see that Squeaky has a softer side when she begins to look at Gretchen (her one-time adversary) through new eyes. The concept of respect is introduced into the story first as Squeaky comprehends what a great runner her brother is in his own right, and again as she recognizes something in Gretchen she had not noticed before—common ground:
Maybe she'd like to help me coach Raymond... And she nods to congratulate me and then she smiles. And I smile. We stand there with this big smile of respect between us.
Raymond is very different from Squeaky:
…a lot of people call [Raymond] my little brother cause he needs looking after cause he’s not quite right.
Raymond has developmental challenges. It is because of this that Squeaky's job each day is to watch over him. While there are some things that don't come easily to Raymond, he has a rich imagination.
I’ve got Raymond walking on the inside close to the buildings, cause he’s subject to fits of fantasy and starts thinking he’s a circus performer and that the curb is a tightrope strung high in the air…
Raymond is often unpredictable. If Squeaky isn't watching closely enough, he darts across the street to startle the pigeons—while also upsetting pedestrians and passersby. However, whether he is pretending to be a circus clown or a stagecoach driver, he is intent in his purpose, giving his all. As Squeaky runs her race, she notices how he runs along side her on the other side of the fence, deeply focused in his intent, with an amazing precision of movement:
Raymond with his arms down to his side and the palms tucked up behind him, running in his very own style... it’s the first time I ever saw that.
While Squeaky and Raymond are very different, they have a great deal in common in how they approach the things they love. Squeaky is much more serious—she says very little about her running (allowing her reputation to speak for her). However, Raymond is more easy-going and full of open enthusiasm for all the world to see.
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