In Toni Cade Bambara's short story "Raymond's Run," what was one of Hazel's epiphanies in the story, and what changes did it make in her?

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booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In this wonderful story, the major epiphany is a central theme of the story.  Hazel (also known as "Squeaky" because of her voice) knows what is important in the world: being yourself, and running.  Hazel has only one job: to watch over her brother Raymond who, as she puts it, is "not quite right."

Hazel spends her time going everywhere with Raymond.  She avoids walking when she can trot instead because she loves to run.  (She notes that the only one who can beat her is her father, but that's a secret.)  She stands up for her brother with the other kids and makes sure he doesn't get into any trouble.  And while she trots along, Raymond lopes along beside her, sometimes pretending to be driving a string of horses.

On this particular day, Hazel and her brother are going to the May Day ceremonies.  Included will be the 50-yard dash in which she will participate, and which she always wins.

However, on this day, as she runs, feeling like a bird soaring through the air, Hazel notices Raymond running on the other side of the fence, keeping up with her.  She notices that although Raymond does not run with the usual runner's grace, he has his own style and that he is very quick.  When the race is over, she notices how beautifully he climbs the fence.  Like Raymond himself, who does not fit the mold of a "normal" person--neither does his running--Hazel sees a wondrous beauty in his movements, and even more so, in him.

We witness Hazel's epiphany as, with celebration (which she is sure others believe is caused by her win), she delights in the realization that her brother is a really fine runner, able to carry on the "family tradition."  Instead of planning on her own future as a track star, she turns her attention to coaching her brother to be a great runner.  After all, she reflects, Hazel has plenty of medals, but what does Raymond have "to call his own?"

Hazel has left a world that revolves around her, to enter a new place where Raymond is the center of her attention. Now she will help him experience the joy of running, to find something that he can "call his own."