What do Squeaky's interactions and thoughts during the resolution of the story reveal about her character in the story "Raymonds Run" by Toni Cade Bambara?

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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The reader learns a great deal about Squeaky's character in the resolution of "Raymond's Run" by Toni Cade Bambara.

For the first time, Squeaky sees her brother in a new light:

...but then like a dancer or something he starts climbing up nice and easy but very fast...how smoothly he climbs hand over hand and remembering how he looked running with his arms down to his side and with the wind pulling his mouth back and his teeth showing and all, it occurred to me that Raymond would make a very fine runner.

While Squeaky loves Raymond and is a devoted protector, she has never seen him as an individual with his own gifts. Here she sees what a wonderful climber he is as he moves effortlessly up and over the fence that separates him from his sister. Upon further recollection, she also stops to recognize and admire Raymond and his fine running skills, displaying techniques she has mastered herself (such as breathing and stamina).

Squeaky also realizes that winning the race, which had been so recently the most important thing on her mind, isn't what matters most to her now. Raymond's training to be a great runner becomes Squeaky's new priority. If she wants to be really good at something else, she will be able to pursue it without difficulty. She can study more for the spelling bee or take piano lessons. She also has firmly established her reputation as one of the toughest kids in the neighborhood. She has a lot of ribbons and medals, but also realizes that Raymond does not. In fact, she asks herself:

But what has Raymond got to call his own? 

Squeaky wins the race, but there is more she recognizes beyond her need to look after Raymond and his career as a runner. Gretchen is there, having won second place. Gretchen, Squeaky realizes, is a very good runner in her own right. She admires the other girl for her dedication to the sport.

And she nods to congratulate me and then she smiles. And I smile. We stand there with this big smile of respect between us. 

This is the first time in the story that Squeaky has mentioned respect for anyone or anything other than her parents—she's always been the kid that has never put up with any nonsense from anyone. Acknowledging this sense of respect is a sign of Squeaky's growing. There is every indication that a friendship is forming between these two who were so recently fierce competitors. Squeaky even thinks that perhaps Gretchen might be interested in helping her train Raymond.

Squeaky sees Raymond and his running potential for the first time. She realizes that she has more than she needs and wants to see Raymond have something of his own. She puts Raymond's interests before her own; she sees Gretchen through new eyes, with a newfound respect for the other girl. And friendship seems a new possibility for this highly motivated young girl who is not as tough inside as the reader might first believe.

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