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In Toni Cade Bambara’s short story “Raymond’s Run” the May Day Race is the climax of the story and a turning point in Squeaky’s life. Usually when Squeaky runs a race, Raymond is a spectator but in this race, he became an active participant even though he was on the other side of the fence that surrounded the track. When Squeaky sees him running she almost stops to watch but instead finishes and wins the race. Raymond climbs over the fence to be with her and in that moment she realizes that he has the potential to be a great runner, She can support him by giving up her running to be his coach. She thinks,
And I have a big rep as the baddest thing around. And I’ve got a roomful of ribbons and medals and awards. But what has Raymond got to call his own? So I stand there with my new plans, laughing out loud...style.
The other thing that Squeaky realizes is that she can be friends with other girls, for example, Gretchen, and that the girls are worthy of respect. Prior to the race, she saw the other girls in the neighborhood as adversaries and competition. After the race, when she smiles at Gretchen, she sees her and the other girls with a new found respect.
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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