In Toni Cade Bambara's short story, "Raymond's Run," Hazel Elizabeth Deborah Parker, also known as Squeaky, is the narrator. She has many strong characteristics that cause conflicts in this story.
Squeaky is intensely focused. Her main goal is to be the fastest runner, and she wins every race she can take part in. She practices running everywhere she goes, saying, "I never walk when I can trot." She also practices breathing exercises and high-stepping, which strengthens her knees. This creates conflict with her mother when she goes shopping with her. Her mother is embarrassed about her odd behavior and acts like she doesn't know her.
I’ll high-prance down 34th Street like a rodeo pony to keep my knees strong even if it does get my mother uptight so that she walks ahead like she’s not with me, don’t know me, is all by herself on a shopping trip, and I am somebody else’s crazy child.
Squeaky is also bold and sassy. This creates conflicts because she is poised for a fight in nearly every interaction she has with people. This creates conflict when she encounters Gretchen and her sidekicks.
I’m ready to fight, cause like I said I don’t feature a whole lot of chit-chat, I much prefer to just knock you down right from the jump and save everybody a lotta precious time."
Squeaky also has a big ego, and this creates conflict in the story. She doesn't like idle chit-chat, and she can't bear with girls who act with false modesty. She knows she is the fastest runner in her neighborhood, and she flaunts that.
"I always win cause I’m the best," I say straight at Gretchen who is, as far as I’m concerned, the only one talking in this ventrilo-quist-dummy routine. Gretchen smiles, but it’s not a smile, and I’m thinking that girls never really smile at each other because they don’t know how and don’t want to know how and there’s probably no one to teach us how, cause grown-up girls don’t know either. Then they all look at Raymond who has just brought his mule team to a standstill. And they’re about to see what trouble they can get into through him.
"What grade you in now, Raymond?"
"You got anything to say to my brother, you say it to me, Mary Louise Williams of Raggedy Town, Baltimore."
"What are you, his mother?" sasses Rosie.
"That’s right, Fatso. And the next word out of anybody and I’ll be their mother too.”
Squeaky is also fiercely protective of her brother Raymond, who has an extra large head and is mentally challenged. She refuses to allow anyone to talk down to—or about—him. She stands ready to fight for him against anyone, and doesn't let Gretchen and her friends address him directly.