The main characters in “Raymond’s Run” are Hazel Parker, Raymond Parker, and Gretchen P. Lewis.
- Hazel Parker, nicknamed Squeaky, is the story’s narrator and protagonist. She is a confident young girl who excels at running and is protective of her brother, Raymond.
- Raymond Parker is Squeaky’s older brother, who has an intellectual disability. Hazel recognizes his potential as an athlete when he runs a race alongside her.
- Gretchen P. Lewis is new to Hazel’s neighborhood. While Hazel at first considers Gretchen a rival, the two share a genuine smile after they race each other.
Last Updated on April 18, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 348
Hazel Elizabeth Deborah “Squeaky” Parker
The narrator and main character of the story, Hazel Parker describes herself as “a little girl with skinny arms,” whose voice had earned her the nickname “Squeaky.” She is known to be the fastest runner in her school. Contrasting her appearance, however, is the strength of her character. Hazel’s narration conveys to the reader a spirited self-assurance. She takes care of her brother, Raymond, with both pride and compassion. She is ready to use her fists or her sharp tongue if anyone has “anything to say about his big head.” Moreover, her striving to be an athlete conveys to the reader her determination to make something of herself. By the end of the story, Hazel is able to recognize that same potential in her brother as well as in her rival, Gretchen.
Raymond is Hazel’s brother; she feels she has to take care of him because he has an intellectual disability. Under his sister’s watchful and caring eye, Raymond is happy in his own world in which he imagines himself as a circus performer or stagecoach driver. He is vulnerable to teasing by others, but he can depend on Hazel to defend him, even with her fists if necessary. By the end of the story, Raymond is no longer a burden to Hazel and has become a catalyst.
Gretchen P. Lewis
Gretchen is a newcomer to Hazel’s neighborhood. She has attracted Mary Louise and Rosie, once friends of Hazel, to be her friends instead. Gretchen and Hazel meet and size each other up but do not come to open conflict, although Mary Louise tries to make fun of Raymond and is put down by Hazel instead. The smile that Gretchen and Hazel give each other on this occasion is “really not a smile” because “girls never really smile at each other.” On the day of the race, Gretchen competes well with Hazel and comes in second. Gretchen’s dedication to running and her abilities impress Hazel, and the two exchange real smiles of beginning friendship and respect.