What does Squeaky learns in the story?

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sullymonster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This short story is a wonderful example of a coming of age tale, the description of one human beings process of becoming mature.  Squeaky is the protagonist of the story, and so it is she that matures as a result of the action.  Although she is self-assured and confident throughout, and although she possess strength, in the beginning she is unable to see these qualities in other.  Her only concerns are carrying for Raymond and running.

However, in caring for Raymond, she initially sees it as a job.  She says, "he needs looking after cause he’s not quite right."  But she doesn't consider that "looking after" could be more productive than it has been.  Not until the May Day race, when she sees him running along the fence.  She understands then that there is more to his character than she had previously seen, and understands that they can learn from each other.  In the end, Raymond and his goals are as important, if not more important to her than her own.  She has finally seen past herself.