Raymond's Run Study Guide
Introduction to Raymond's Run
“Raymond’s Run” is a short story by Toni Cade Bambara. It was published independently in the 1971 anthology Tales and Stories for Black Folks, which was edited by Bambara. It was later included in Bambara’s 1972 short story collection, Gorilla, My Love. Like most of Bambara’s works, the story is both complex and upbeat, focusing on an outspoken and talented young Black woman. The protagonist, Squeaky, is a promising runner who ultimately decides to put her own career on hold in order to coach her disabled brother, Raymond.
Squeaky’s decision to coach Raymond in running highlights the importance of recognizing the potential of others. Though Squeaky has always accepted and loved Raymond for who he is, her focus on her own talents has led her to neglect Raymond’s abilities. Seeing him run the race alongside her, however, motivates her to look outside her own concerns and make a genuine connection with her brother based on a shared interest. Squeaky’s world, which was previously defined by competition and the resulting isolation, suddenly expands, and she is able to recognize the connections she could have with those around her in new ways.
A Brief Biography of Toni Cade Bambara
Toni Cade Bambara may not have gained as much acclaim and fame as her contemporaries Toni Morrison and Alice Walker, but she ranks with them in terms of influencing subsequent generations of writers. Bambara, like Walker and Morrison, helped define (and redefine) the voice of Black American women. Bambara helped assert that voice by narrating her tales from a first-person point of view. This intimate approach to storytelling invited audiences to share in her characters’ struggles and joys. Bambara also set herself apart with her positive tone, exploring the Black American female psyche through growth and happiness. Her contributions to American literature have earned Bambara the reputation of a pioneer.