In “Raymond’s Run” by Toni Cade Bambara, Squeaky and Gretchen possess several different character traits.
Squeaky is boisterous, outwardly competitive and fiercely loyal to her brother, Raymond. When provoked, Squeaky is liable to pick a fight and run away while showing her distain for her adversaries. Running is her outlet and her passion, and she practices constantly. Practice is all consuming for Squeaky which leaves her little time to develop true friendships, which is something she lacks the social skills to do.
“I always win cause I’m the best,” I say straight at Gretchen who is, as far as I’m concerned, the only one talking in this ventrilo-quist-dummy routine. Gretchen smiles, but it’s not a smile, and I’m thinking that girls never really smile at each other because they don’t know how and don’t want to know how and there’s probably no one to teach us how, cause grown-up girls don’t know either.
On the other hand, Gretchen, while devoted to her running, is quieter about her practice. She is the “new girl” in town but has amassed a posse of Squeaky’s former companions. Gretchen shows her dislike of Squeaky with her looks of disgust when they meet on the street. As flashy as Squeaky is, Gretchen is just the opposite with her quiet aloofness.
Gretchen and Squeaky both are dedicated, particularly to running. The compete well in the race, and have respect for each other becaue they are equal and fair competitors. They also have a sense of self-assurance and pride - unlike the other girls, such as Mary Louise, they do not need to make fun of others to feel good. They stand on their own and are good leaders.