“Raymond’s Run” is set in Harlem, New York.
The setting of the story is important. This is the story of a young girl attending a May Day race. We know that the story takes place in Harlem, a neighborhood in New York City in the late sixties. In this story, the neighborhood comes to life.
So I’m strolling down Broadway breathing out and breathing in on counts of seven, which is my lucky number, and here comes Gretchen and her sidekicks: Mary Louise, who used to be a friend of mine when she first moved to Harlem…
Squeaky likes her neighborhood. She enjoys practicing her running through the streets. She is definitely at home. Another example of the neighborhood atmosphere is the May Day celebration. This is a neighborhood event that takes place every year. Some girls dress up for the maypole dance, but Squeaky prefers to run. She has a reputation for being a runner, and a good one.
Then all the kids standing on the side pile on me, banging me on the back and slapping my head with their May Day programs, for I have won again and everybody on 151st Street can walk tall for another year.
Squeaky has a tough time with the neighborhood kids. She does not make friends easily, partly because she has to take care of her mentally handicapped older brother, Raymond. People often make fun of Raymond, and Squeaky has to defend him. Running is an area where Squeaky can be proud of herself. It is something she can get better at with effort. In this story, she learns that it is possible to make friends when you share something you care about. She makes friends with Gretchen because she also loves running.
A good story uses its setting almost like a character. Harlem is a unique neighborhood rich in culture and African American tradition. This story demonstrates that richness by creating a colorful cast of characters and an endearing plot.