Squeaky’s inner conflict, loyalty, and attitude create conflict with the other children in “Raymond’s Run” by Toni Cade Bambara.
Hazel Elizabeth Deborah Parker, who is known as Squeaky, is small in stature but big on attitude. She is fiercely loyal to her developmentally disabled brother, Raymond. Her only family responsibilities are to care for Raymond, and to keep him safe. When other children mock Raymond, she takes her job of defending him seriously. Squeaky would rather fight and run than reason with people who poke fun at Raymond based on his disability.
But now, if anybody has anything to say to Raymond, anything to say about his big head, they have to come by me. And I don’t play the dozens or believe in standing around with somebody in my face doing a lot of talking. 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, which is how I got the name Squeaky. And if things get too rough, I run.
Her attitude about practicing to succeed also causes conflict. She cannot deal with the other girls who pretend they do not need to practice to be good at things such as playing the piano or excelling at spelling bees. Squeaky takes pride in her practice regimen that leads to her success as the fastest runner in the neighborhood. She cannot abide by false bravado.
Now some people like to act like things come easy to them, won’t let on that they practice. Not me.
In addition, Squeaky believes there are few role models for young girls to become real friends. In her mind, girls even have a hard time simply smiling at each other. She despises when girls are expected to be something they are not, and uses the example of her discomfort when she danced in the May Day festivities. Even though she was young, she realized girls were often asked to hide their true passions, such as running. This creates conflicts with her parents, especially her mother.
The biggest thing on the program is the May Pole dancing, which I can do without, thank you, even if my mother thinks it’s a shame I don’t take part and act like a girl for a change.
Squeaky is so engrossed by her inner conflict that she neglects to see the abilities of others. After the May Day run her feelings begin to slowly change.