In the story "Raymond's Run," why does Squeaky think that running races helps her to be herself?  

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beateach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Toni Cade Bambara’s short story “Raymond’s Run,” Squeaky’s identity is based on her success as a runner. It is the constant in her life. The work she puts into her running success makes her proud, unlike some of the girls who pretend that things come easy or by luck. Wherever she goes, Squeaky practices her breathing and high stepping in order to be a better runner. Squeaky knows that even if she studies for hours, she will have difficulty in school. However, if she practices her running skills she will be the winner. Her feelings are apparent when she describes the May Day activities.

I am not a strawberry. I do not dance on my toes. I run.

That is what I am all about.   

It is only after Raymond runs stride for stride with her in the May Day race, and Gretchen challenges her skills, that she realizes she can be more than a runner. After the race, Squeaky realizes she can be a friend to other girls, and a mentor to Raymond.