How does Squeaky change throughout "Raymond's Run"?

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Squeaky changes throughout "Raymond's Run" by going from someone who only understands what Raymond can't do to someone who understands what he can do. Initially, Squeaky sees her disabled little brother as someone who needs protecting from the world, but by the end of the story, Squeaky's realized that Raymond is so much more than that. He has remarkable athletic abilities, which Squeaky's only too keen to help develop.

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Squeaky loves her brother Raymond dearly, and does everything she can to protect him from the dangers of everyday living, as well as the cruel taunts of the mean girls at school. At the same time, she has to combine protecting her brother with training as an athlete. It's by no means an easy task, but it's one that Squeaky has gotten used to by now. A strong, self-reliant character, Squeaky has developed multi-tasking skills that would put many grown adults to shame.

Inevitably, this means that Squeaky lives in a kind of bubble from which it's incredibly hard to escape. Squeaky would never admit it, but her brother's serious disability and his constant need to be looked out for prevent her from doing more of the kinds of things she wants to do in life. Thank goodness she has athletics as an outlet.

However, once Squeaky discovers, to her amazement, just how fast a runner Raymond is, new vistas immediately open up to her. Now, for the first time, she's found a way to combine her training with keeping an eye on her brother. By supervising Raymond's training, Squeaky can hone his raw talent while at the same making sure that he stays out of trouble.

Squeaky's whole way of seeing Raymond has now changed. Instead of seeing him as disabled, she now sees him as someone possessed with great potential as an athlete, and she's only too happy to help Raymond develop that potential.

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At the beginning of the story, Squeaky comes across as a strong, no-nonsense kind of girl. She is able to fend for herself and also takes care of her older brother, Raymond, who is mentally challenged. This should be quite a big responsibility for Squeaky considering her age, yet she is able to take this in stride. For instance, she says that anybody who wants to be unkind to Raymond has her to contend with and that she’d most likely just “knock down” whoever it was.

She is also highly independent and does not fear to live in her own skin. Because of this, she is disdainful of people who “act like things come easily for them," like Cynthia Proctor, and of events such as the May Pole dance, where she’d have to dress up and act all girly just to please her mother. She knows her capabilities on the track and is contemptuous of the new girl Gretchen, who thinks that she is a better runner than her. In fact, she is so confident of her racing skills that she is not afraid to tell everybody that Gretchen is no competition to her.

Towards the end of the story, Squeaky learns that Raymond too is quite a runner. This is after Raymond runs on the other side of the fence, during her race. For the first time in her life, she does not worry about whether she has won the race or not, rather she thinks about how later on she can work on coaching Raymond to be a better runner, to have some of the glory she too has had in life. The fact that Gretchen could have just as easily won the race, teaches her empathy for Raymond and others, even for Gretchen herself. She realizes that Gretchen is a great athlete and smiles at her. This is her first friendly gesture towards Gretchen. Squeaky describes the smiles that pass between her and Gretchen, as “smiles of respect.”

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When the story begins, Squeaky is very eager to prove herself by winning every race she runs in, and she also devotes herself to protecting her brother Raymond, who is developmentally disabled, by threatening anyone who menaces him. She spends a great deal of time practicing her stride and her running so she can be the best, and she sees Raymond as someone to protect and other girls as people to keep up her guard around.

However, by the end of the story, she realizes that Raymond has his own capacities as a runner and that she can coach him to be a runner. She comes to understand that he is more capable than she had thought and that her role is not merely to defend him as one would defend a child but also to nurture him and encourage him to get some glory. In addition, she realizes that she and her running rival, Gretchen, can be friends and partners rather than merely rivals. In recognizing the new relationship that she might have with Gretchen, Squeaky comes to understand that girls can help each other rather than just be rivals. 

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At the beginning of the story, Squeaky sees her job as being the sole protector of her little brother, Raymond. Raymond is mentally challenged and Squeaky is willing to take on anyone who challenges or makes fun of him but she also sees her brother as somewhat of a burden. She does not see Raymond's potential as a runner. However, during the May Day race, she notices something for the first time. She writes, "it occurred to me that Raymond would make a very fine runner. Doesn’t he always keep up with me on my trots? And he surely knows how to breathe in counts of seven cause he’s always doing it at the dinner table, which drives my brother George up the wall." Squeaky realizes that even if she doesn't win the race, she can always coach Raymond and do other things herself. The realization allows Squeaky to also recognize the good qualities in her rival, Gretchen, and the two girls smile at each other. This implies a future friendship between the two girls and a realization that her brother also possesses talents. So Squeaky is freed to become both a friend to Gretchen and less of a protector and more of a coach to Raymond.

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Does Squeaky's attitude change by the end of the narrative of "Raymond's Run"?

By the end of "Raymond's Run," Squeaky certainly changes her attitudes as she begins to see Raymond as a person in his own right, and she realizes that others, such as Gretchen, are not necessarily antagonistic toward her.

As she prepares to run in the May Day fifty-yard dash, Squeaky happens to notice her brother Raymond:

I see that ole Raymond is on line on the other side of the fence, bending down with his fingers on the ground just like he knew what he was doing. 

The race begins, and Squeaky gives all her attention to winning; however, as she nears the finish line, she notices Raymond on the other side of the fence, running with his arms down and his palms turned up:

running in his very own style, and it’s the first time I ever saw that and I almost stop to watch my brother Raymond on his first run.

For the first time, after she crosses the finish line and wins the race, Squeaky does not celebrate her win; instead, she delights in what her brother has accomplished. She recognizes that he does, indeed, "know what he's doing." Squeaky is proud of Raymond and decides to focus on him as the winner rather than upon herself:

It occurred to me that Raymond would make a very fine runner. Doesn’t he always keep up with me...? And he surely knows how to breathe. . . if I’ve lost this race. . . or even if I’ve won, I can always retire as a runner and begin a whole new career as a coach with Raymond as my champion.

Clearly, Squeaky now perceives Raymond as a person in his own right whom she can serve, not as the brother she must protect and have as a dependent. Squeaky then looks at Gretchen and smiles, no longer considering her an adversary, but instead recognizing Gretchen's ability for the first time:

Cause she's good, no doubt about it. . . 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.

Now, Squeaky perceives Gretchen in a positive light; in fact, she even considers asking her to help her coach Raymond. Squeaky's remarks directly contrast her earlier comments about the insincerity of smiles among girls. It is apparent that she has come to trust Gretchen, whereas before she suspected her of insincerity.

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