In Toni Cade Bambara's short story "Raymond's Run," who is Cynthia?
In Toni Cade Bambara's short story "Raymond's Run," Cynthia is someone Squeaky knows from school.
Squeaky makes it clear as she narrates the story that she is someone who is—sometimes uncomfortably—honest and upfront about everything. For example, if someone makes fun of Raymond, Squeaky is ready to punch first without a lot of chitchat, something she sees as a waste of time. This is reinforced as Squeaky describes how she trains for a race. She walks around on shopping trips, lifting her legs high in a prancing motion like that of a pony to keep her knees strong (much to her mother's annoyance). Squeaky says that while she is very open about what she does (like exercising and practicing in public), some people pretend that things are easy—when in truth they practice constantly in private.
Squeaky uses Cynthia as an example:
Now you take Cynthia Procter...like last week when she won the spelling bee for the millionth time, "A good thing you got 'receive,' Squeaky, 'cause I would have got it wrong. I completely forgot about the spelling bee." And she'll clutch the lace on her blouse like it was a narrow escape.
Then in music class she always lets herself get bumped around so she falls accidentally on purpose onto the piano stool and is so surprised to find herself sitting there that she decides just for fun to try out the old keys. And what do you know—Chopin's waltzes just spring out of her fingertips and she's the most surprised thing in the world...I could kill people like that.
While Cynthia is like Squeaky in wanting to be successful, Cynthia pretends that she doesn't have to work toward anything to do well. This aggravates Squeaky who is not only honest about her efforts, but admits that some things (like the spelling bee) are hard work for her.