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I would want to be Squeaky’s friend because she can grow as a person, she stands up for others, and she follows through with what she says she will do.
What makes Squeaky a good friend is her ability to grow as a person. Although at first she seems a little standoffish, and actually sort of mean, she is open to learning about people and changing her views on them. This is important in a friend, because people who will make one snap judgement and never give you another chance a) often do not even get a chance to be your friend, and b) sometimes fight with you and stop being your friend for dumb reasons.
Evidence for this is that Squeaky was not friends with Gretchen at first, and in fact disliked her quite a bit. She even insulted her, using short legs and freckles as a reason not to be friends with her. It was mostly the fact that Gretchen had friends and she didn’t, and she was jealous of Gretchen. She thought Gretchen was a show off. It seems though, that Gretchen’s friends were worse than Gretchen.
Squeaky is very impressed with Gretchen during the race, describing her as a “pro” several times. When Gretchen comes in second, Squeaky decides she might be friend material.
And I look over at Gretchen wondering what the “P” stands for. And I smile. Cause she’s good, no doubt about it. Maybe she’d like to help me coach Raymond; she obviously is serious about running, as any fool can see.
Clearly, Squeaky is capable of seeing people for who they are eventually. She may be harsh with people sometimes, but she has to be. She is very protective of her older brother because he is mentally handicapped and people make fun of him. She has to look out for him, and has to be careful who she is friends with.
This brings me to the second reason Squeaky is a good friend. She stands up for Raymond, so she would probably stand up for her friend. Raymond is her younger brother, and he is bigger, but he acts strangely because she is different. Squeaky takes her responsibility to take care of him very seriously. Anyone who teases Raymond has to get through her.
[If] anybody has anything to say to Raymond, anything to say about his big head, they have to come by me. …I much rather just knock you down and take my chances even if I am a little girl with skinny arms and a squeaky voice …
Other children try to tease Raymond, or Squeaky, and she will fight them. She doesn’t try to talk about it first. She is one tough little girl. Getting into fights is not the best trait in a friend, but knowing that someone will stand up for you is nice.
Finally, Squeaky follows through with whatever she says she will do. When she says she will win the race, she trains hard and does win. Follow-through is important. It is good to have someone who will always be there for you. She also notices potential in others. Squeaky notices that Raymond keeps up with her when she is training, and ran alongside her during the race. She decides to train him so he can race too.
[It] occurred to me that Raymond would make a very fine runner. Doesn’t he always keep up with me on my trots? … And I’m smiling to beat the band cause if I’ve lost this race … I can always retire as a runner and begin a whole new career as a coach with Raymond as my champion.
Squeaky is a good friend because she follows through with her own race, and she is passionate about racing. She is so passionate that she does not even care if she is the one racing. She is even willing to coach her brother in racing and make him the champion racer, because that is how much she loves running.
This interesting story gives us first-person insight into a tough but sweet little girl whose life is not very easy, but she makes the most of it. She is trying to make the most of taking care of her brother and navigating friendships with other girls, which is not easy for her. Her passion in life is running, and through it, she finds a connection with her brother, and a new friend.
Start your answer to this question by writing a list of all Squeaky's personality traits. Then, make a note as to whether these occur at the beginning or end of the work (i.e. how does Squeaky grow?). If you can, write down a quote or page reference for each personality trait - this might help you with finding quotes or preparing for your next question or essay.
Now think about your own friends. Write down the top five things that make your friends amazing, and the top five personality traits that annoy you. Are there any traits that occur on both lists (i.e. Squeaky and your own preferences)?
For example, from my point of view, here are some of Squeaky's personality traits that I would enjoy and find frustrating.
Pros: knows what she wants, determined, inner strength, willing to stand up for you and what you believe in.
Cons: decisive, committed to what she wants, might not have time for you when you need it, might be quick to anger/disagree with you, comes across as cocky and overconfident.
Sqeaky is determined. She knows what she wants and goes after it. She is also supportive, once she realizes that Raymond is also running she decides that she will help him in his journey to success. After the race, Sqeaky smiles at Gretchen which to me was a sign of forgiveness. So we could say she is forgiving too.
These are what would make sqeaky a good friend for me. I need someone who supports me in anything I do, forgiving because no relationship/ friendship is perfect, and determined because I need to know you're serious about whatever it is you want to do in life.
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