What are some quotes about the conflict of "Raymond's Run" by Toni Cade Bambara?

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sciftw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the main conflicts in this story focuses on Squeaky and her running ability.  She's a great runner.  In fact, nobody has ever beaten her (except her father).  Squeaky is proud of that reputation; however, she knows that she has to work to keep that reputation by training hard and frequently.  The following quote is about her dedication to her craft. 

Now some people like to act like things come easy to them, won’t let on that they practice. Not me. I’ll high-prance down 34th Street like a rodeo pony to keep my knees strong . . . 

On the day of the May Day races, Squeaky is verbally challenged about her winning streak.  Rosie comes up to Squeaky and taunts her.  

“I don’t think you’re going to win this time,” says Rosie . . . 

Of course Squeaky feels the need to defend her title, but Squeaky doesn't feel that her legs should do all of the work.  She responds with a taunt of her own.

“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 ventriloquist-dummy routine.

This verbal exchange goes on for a bit; however, it changes to focus on a second conflict in the story.  Squeaky feels the need to protect her older brother, Raymond.   She tells readers this in the beginning of the story.  

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.

But it's when the three girls are taunting Squeaky and Raymond that readers get to see Squeaky's protection of her brother in action.  

“What grade you in now, Raymond?”

“You got anything to say to my brother, you say it to me, Mary Louise Williams of Raggedy Town, Baltimore.”

“What are you, his mother?” sasses Rosie.

“That’s right, Fatso. And the next word out of anybody and I’ll be their mother too.”

jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The conflict of "Raymond's Run" is about how Squeaky is going to prove herself, both as a runner and as a protective sister to Raymond. One quote related to this conflict is "But now, if anybody has anything to say to Raymond, anything to say about his big head, they have to come by me." Squeaky is very protective of Raymond, albeit in the way a sister would typically defend a small younger sibling. In actuality, Raymond is older than Squeaky is. Later, she figures out a way to protect Raymond and champion him without treating him like a small child. When she is running in the May Day races, she thinks, "it occurred to me that Raymond would make a very fine runner. Doesn’t he always keep up with me on my trots?" She decides at the end of the story to prove herself and help Raymond at the same time by coaching him as a runner.

In the meantime, while Squeaky is trying to figure out how to protect Raymond, she attempts to prove herself as a runner. She says, "Now some people like to act like things come easy to them, won’t let on that they practice. Not me. I’ll high-prance down 34th Street like a rodeo pony to keep my knees strong." Squeaky is determined to win races to prove her mettle, and she'll work hard to do so.