Toni Cade Bambara examines both positive and negative family dynamics in the short story “Raymond’s Run.”
In “Raymond’s Run” each member of Squeaky’s family makes a significant contribution for the good of the whole family. For example, Squeaky’s mother is responsible for the workings of the family home while her husband works. Squeaky’s brother contributes by doing odd jobs and she is responsible for Raymond who needs constant care due to his developmental disabilities. The author is highlighting the need for each family member to take responsibility for the others.
She also, describes how Squeaky’s father allows her to win when they run against each other. Her father helps her maintain her reputation, and helps her hone her skills as a runner. It is important for family member to support and bolster each other. On the other hand, Squeaky complains about the time she had to dress up and dance during the May Day. Her parents came to watch her. Squeaky did not appreciate her parents attempt to make her into something she was not.
One of the most important family lessons the author emphasizes is that of Squeaky’s loyalty to her brother. Throughout the story she defends him against those who mock him for his disabilities, but she sees him as her responsibility not as a person with his own abilities. When he demonstrates his personal running skills, she sees her brother very differently. At first she is his caretaker but at the end of the story she becomes his champion.
Toni Cade Bambara uses her short story to describe the value of family dynamics, and how significant it is for family members to remain loyal one another.