In "Raymond's Run," why does Squeaky spend so much time with Raymond?

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In Toni Cade Bambara's short story "Raymond's Run," Squeaky spends most of her time with her brother Raymond. Raymond has hydrocephalus, a condition that causes him to be mentally handicapped, and Squeaky is responsible for him. Raymond is her older brother, but he has the mental capability of a much younger child, so Squeaky looks after him for her parents while they work. Since Squeaky is preparing for the May Day Race, Raymond prepares alongside her. She exercises and practices running, and she expects Raymond to keep up with her.

"And you can see me any time of day practicing running. I never walk if I can trot, and shame on Raymond if he can't keep up. But of course he does, 'cause if he hangs back someone's liable to walk up to him and get smart, or take his allowance e from him, or ask him where he got that great big pumpkin head" (Bambara 4).

Though Squeaky and Raymond spend a lot of time together, it isn't until the end of the story that Squeaky realizes how her practice has really rubbed off on Raymond, and that he has become a good runner in his own right.


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