What is the exposition in the story "Raymond's Run" by Toni Cade Bambara?

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booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The purpose of "exposition" is to...

...provide some background and inform the readers about the plot, character, setting, and theme of the essay/story...

In Toni Cade Bambara's story, "Raymond's Run," the exposition takes place at the very beginning. It is here that we are introduced to Raymond and his "difficulties." We learn that he is "slow," and that a lot of people have unkind things to say about him, but not with Squeaky around. It's her job to keep an eye on him.

We are also introduced to the narrator, Hazel Elizabeth Deborah Parker (known in the story as "Squeaky"). She has an "upfront attitude," she won't "play the dozens" ("exchange rhyming insults"), will fight first and ask questions later, and she can run. Without even knowing exactly what the plot is, we can assume that "running" is an important element in Bambara's tale because she has called it "Raymond's Run."

As readers we can surmise that the plot involves running and the relationship Squeaky has with her brother Raymond. For although she is the athlete in the family, the title conveys that Squeaky is telling Raymond's story, which reinforces the kind of relationship the two kids have. We learn all of this from the beginning of the story, in the exposition.

 

gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The exposition is typically found at the beginning a story and provides background information regarding characters, settings, and events. In Toni Cade Bambara's short story "Raymond's Run," the exposition introduces the audience to the narrator of the story, Hazel "Squeaky" Elizabeth Deborah Parker, and her mentally handicapped brother, Raymond. Squeaky is depicted as a protective, self-confident older sister who sticks up for her handicapped brother. Squeaky also mentions that she is the "fastest thing on two feet" and that there will be a meaningful race the next day. Bambara also introduces the antagonist of the story, Gretchen. From the exposition, the reader can surmise that Squeaky and Gretchen will eventually race and that Raymond will play a significant role in the story. Squeaky's personality and relationship with her brother are also depicted throughout the exposition.

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