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.

Frequently Asked Questions about Raymond's Run

Raymond's Run

Squeaky realizes after her race that her brother Raymond has nothing that he can really "call his own." She has a "roomful" of awards and ribbons and medals for winning races, and she could win a...

Latest answer posted December 5, 2021, 3:03 pm (UTC)

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Raymond's Run

Squeaky runs the fifty-yard dash at the May Day races. Different age groups run races of different lengths; for example, the kindergarteners only run twenty yards because they are so small....

Latest answer posted December 5, 2021, 2:35 pm (UTC)

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Raymond's Run

Squeaky has a lot of dreams. In fact, she is constantly imagining who she will become and mediating between her reality growing up in Harlem and her aspirations to be the best. Her assertion that...

Latest answer posted December 5, 2021, 12:55 pm (UTC)

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Raymond's Run

In this quote, Squeaky is explaining that when she is walking around Harlem doing her breathing exercises, she has to keep Raymond between the buildings and herself. She needs to be the one on the...

Latest answer posted December 5, 2021, 12:25 pm (UTC)

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Raymond's Run

Gretchen and Squeaky do not so much dislike (though Squeaky thinks of it in those terms) each other as rightly perceive each other as rivals. Both have dominant personalities: Squeaky does not...

Latest answer posted December 5, 2021, 12:06 pm (UTC)

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Raymond's Run

The climax of a story is the moment of the most tension between the protagonist and the antagonist, and the antagonist in the story is Squeaky's society. It is this society that tells her that she...

Latest answer posted December 4, 2021, 1:16 pm (UTC)

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Raymond's Run

"Raymond's Run" takes place in Harlem, a neighborhood in New York City strongly associated since the early twentieth century with Black life and culture. The story, published in 1971, appears to...

Latest answer posted December 4, 2021, 12:18 pm (UTC)

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Raymond's Run

This story is about a protagonist nicknamed Squeaky and follows her preparation to win the upcoming May Day races. Yet the story is titled "Raymond's Run," which includes the name of her older and...

Latest answer posted December 3, 2021, 1:17 pm (UTC)

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Raymond's Run

Squeaky’s father is faster than she is, and he is the only person who can beat her in a footrace. She says that he can beat her to Amsterdam Avenue even if she has a substantial head start, he runs...

Latest answer posted December 3, 2021, 1:13 pm (UTC)

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Raymond's Run

When determining the main idea of a short story, it is often helpful to consider the main conflict the protagonist faces. Try stating this in a way that effectively captures these key details in a...

Latest answer posted December 2, 2021, 7:26 pm (UTC)

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Raymond's Run

In "Raymond's Run," the narrator, Squeaky, is walking along Broadway with her brother Raymond when they encounter a group of three girls, the ringleader of which is Gretchen, Squeaky's rival....

Latest answer posted December 2, 2021, 12:09 pm (UTC)

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Raymond's Run

Squeaky, the narrator of the story, is called Mercury by the big kids in her town because she is “the swiftest thing in the neighborhood.” Her real name is Hazel Elizabeth Deborah Parker, and...

Latest answer posted December 3, 2021, 12:48 pm (UTC)

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Raymond's Run

"Raymond's Run" concludes with a rapprochement and a shift in Squeaky's own personal priorities. As the story begins, Squeaky is characterized as proud of her abilities as a runner, and the story...

Latest answer posted December 3, 2021, 12:08 pm (UTC)

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Raymond's Run

Squeaky is a feisty narrator who makes the best of her life. A talented runner, she is determined to continue to win races and, especially, to beat her rival Gretchen in the May Day race. She...

Latest answer posted December 3, 2021, 11:26 am (UTC)

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Raymond's Run

Raymond has a mental disability. Although he is older and bigger than Hazel (Squeaky), the first-person narrator, she often feels like his big sister. As Squeaky describes it, she doesn't have many...

Latest answer posted December 2, 2021, 11:35 am (UTC)

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Raymond's Run

The main conflict of “Raymond’s Run” is the conflict between Raymond’s sister, the story’s narrator, and society. This relatively young girl, who is called Squeaky but whose name is Hazel Elizabeth...

Latest answer posted December 2, 2021, 12:55 pm (UTC)

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Raymond's Run

The antagonist in “Raymond’s Run” is society. The speaker, Raymond’s sister Hazel, is the protagonist who is essentially willing to stand up to anyone who is mean to her brother or implies that she...

Latest answer posted December 2, 2021, 3:34 pm (UTC)

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Raymond's Run

Squeaky, an excellent and dedicated runner, respects Gretchen because she is also a good runner. As Squeaky puts it at the end of the story, she smiles at Gretchen: Cause she’s good, no doubt...

Latest answer posted December 4, 2021, 11:47 am (UTC)

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Raymond's Run

The protagonist of "Raymond's Run" is Raymond's sister, Hazel Elizabeth Deborah Parker, a young girl living in Harlem. She is nicknamed "Squeaky" and serves as the story's narrator, being that the...

Latest answer posted December 4, 2021, 11:51 am (UTC)

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Raymond's Run

Squeaky considers retiring, or at least taking break, from running so that she can coach her brother Raymond as a runner. She watches, as he runs on the other side of the fence during her race, and...

Latest answer posted December 4, 2021, 12:42 pm (UTC)

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Summary