What are examples of Squeaky showing empathy for other characters in "Raymond's Run"?

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Discussing Squeaky's empathy is always an interesting discussion in my opinion. It is fairly easy to see how she empathizes with her brother, but that makes a lot of sense, too. She lives with Raymond, and being understanding of a family member's situation and knowing how that person feels shouldn't be a stretch for her. Based on the first half of the story, I think it is quite natural for many readers to side with the idea that Squeaky is not an empathetic character. If anything, she is quite antagonistic to the other girls her age, but Bambara has Squeaky go through a massive character shift during her race.

She sees her brother running, and that causes her to look at him differently as well as her competition. That's why Squeaky can admit without malice that Gretchen has some real talent and works at it, too. She's genuinely proud of Gretchen's efforts and admits that it wouldn't even be that bad of a thing to lose to Gretchen because Squeaky sees her as a fellow competitor and not an adversary. Squeaky knows about competition and that competitive spirit; therefore, Squeaky is able to empathize with exactly what is going through Gretchen's mind and emotions after the race.

We stand there with this big smile of respect between us. It’s about as real a smile as girls can do for each other....

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There are a number of instances in Toni Cade Bambara’s story “Raymond’s Run” in which Squeaky demonstrates her ability to be empathetic. An empathetic person has the ability to understand the emotions and feelings of others in a variety of situations.

Squeaky shows her empathy for her disabled brother Raymond. She does not allow anyone to demean him. If they do, they have to deal with Squeaky’s wrath. Prior to Squeaky becoming Raymond’s caregiver, her older brother was in charge. He did not live up to his younger sister’s expectations for their brother’s safety and well-being.

And a lot of smart mouths got lots to say about that too, especially when George was minding him. But now, if anybody has anything to say to Raymond, anything to say about his big head, they have to come by me.

Another example of Squeaky showing empathy occurs when Raymond runs through the people who are out enjoying the sunshine in the city. His running disrupts their newspapers and lunches as he causes the pigeons to take flight all around them. She apologetically follows behind her brother attempting to clean up the commotion he causes. Because of her empathy for her neighbors, she devises a system for Raymond to walk up close to the buildings so she can be proactive and reduce the number of times this occurs.

Or sometimes if you don’t watch him he’ll dash across traffic to the island in the middle of Broadway and give the pigeons a fit. Then I have to go behind him apologizing to all the old people sitting around trying to get some sun and getting all upset with the pigeons fluttering around them, scattering their newspapers and upsetting the waxpaper lunches in their laps.

Now that you understand the meaning of empathy, you will find more examples of Squeaky’s empathy toward others while reading the story.

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