Raymond's Run Questions and Answers
by Toni Cade Bambara

Raymond's Run book cover
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Summarize Squeaky's thoughts about the way girls act toward one another in "Raymond's Run."

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In Toni Cade Bambara’s short story “Raymond’s Run, the protagonist, Hazel Elizabeth Deborah Parker, known as Squeaky, feels that many girls are superfluous. She is a girl who does not have to do housework, her mother does that, but she is charged with caring for her disabled brother.

She is particularly troubled by the girls in her class who put up false pretenses. For example, she describes how Cynthia Procter pretends not to care about practicing for spelling bees or her piano lessons. She says, “I could kill people like that.” Squeaky is proud of the time she spends practicing her running and makes no pretenses about it. She feels that girls should be honest with each other and proud of their accomplishments.

When she sees a group of girls walking toward her on the street she expresses her opinions about each of the girls and how difficult it is to have true relationships with them. As she thinks about it, she realizes that young women do not always have good examples set for them.

Gretchen smiles, but it’s not a smile, and I’m thinking that girls never really smile at each other because they don’t know how and don’t want to know how and there’s probably no one to teach us how, cause grown-up girls don’t know either.

It is not until after the May Day Race that Squeaky realizes that she can be true to herself while being friends with other girls. Gretchen gives her a run for her money in the race. Raymond strides with her step by step and she realizes that she is more than she gives herself credit for. In addition, Squeaky realizes that woman can be friends when they set their ideals on the more important things in life. She explains her encounter with Gretchen after the race.

And she nods to congratulate me and then she smiles. And I smile. 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, considering we don’t practice real smiling every day, you know, cause maybe we too busy being flowers or fairies or strawberries instead of something honest and worthy of respect . . . you know . . . like being people.

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