What do Squeaky's interactions and thoughts at the story's end reveal about her character in "Raymond's Run"?

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The reader learns a great deal about Squeaky's character in the resolution of "Raymond's Run" by Toni Cade Bambara.

For the first time, Squeaky sees her brother in a new light:

...but then like a dancer or something he starts climbing up nice and easy but very fast...how smoothly he climbs hand over hand and remembering how he looked running with his arms down to his side and with the wind pulling his mouth back and his teeth showing and all, it occurred to me that Raymond would make a very fine runner.

While Squeaky loves Raymond and is a devoted protector, she has never seen him as an individual with his own gifts. Here she sees what a wonderful climber he is as he moves effortlessly up and over the fence that separates him from his sister. Upon further recollection, she also stops to recognize and admire Raymond and his fine running skills, displaying techniques she has mastered herself (such as breathing and stamina).

Squeaky also realizes that winning the race, which had been so recently the most important thing on her mind, isn't what matters most to her now. Raymond's training to be a great runner becomes Squeaky's new priority. If she wants to be really good at something else, she will be able to pursue it without difficulty. She can study more for the spelling bee or take piano lessons. She also has firmly established her reputation as one of the toughest kids in the neighborhood. She has a lot of ribbons and medals, but also realizes that Raymond does not. In fact, she asks herself:

But what has Raymond got to call his own? 

Squeaky wins the race, but there is more she recognizes beyond her need to look after Raymond and his career as a runner. Gretchen is there, having won second place. Gretchen, Squeaky realizes, is a very good runner in her own right. She admires the other girl for her dedication to the sport.

And she nods to congratulate me and then she smiles. And I smile. We stand there with this big smile of respect between us. 

This is the first time in the story that Squeaky has mentioned respect for anyone or anything other than her parents—she's always been the kid that has never put up with any nonsense from anyone. Acknowledging this sense of respect is a sign of Squeaky's growing. There is every indication that a friendship is forming between these two who were so recently fierce competitors. Squeaky even thinks that perhaps Gretchen might be interested in helping her train Raymond.

Squeaky sees Raymond and his running potential for the first time. She realizes that she has more than she needs and wants to see Raymond have something of his own. She puts Raymond's interests before her own; she sees Gretchen through new eyes, with a newfound respect for the other girl. And friendship seems a new possibility for this highly motivated young girl who is not as tough inside as the reader might first believe.

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Discuss a detail of the character Squeaky in "Raymond's Run" by Toni Cade Bambara; show to what extent things change in the end and what brings about this change.

Hazel Elizabeth Deborah Parker, also known as Squeaky, is the protagonist of "Raymond's Run" by Toni Cade Bambara. One of the hallmarks of a protagonist that she undergoes a change, and that is true for Squeaky in this story.

What is most notable about Squeaky is that she is committed to running. It is the thing she does best, and she is not afraid to tell everyone just how good she is at it.

There is no track meet that I don’t win the first-place medal. I used to win the twenty-yard dash when I was a little kid in kindergarten. Nowadays, it’s the fifty-yard dash. And tomorrow I’m subject to run the quarter-meter relay all by myself and come in first, second, and third. The big kids call me Mercury cause I’m the swiftest thing in the neighborhood. Everybody knows that....

Unlike the people who pretend they never practice or work hard to get better at whatever it is that they do (the kind of people Squeaky despises), Squeaky works hard and publicly, practicing some aspect of running no matter what else she may be doing. She dismisses even the thought of anyone else who thinks they might possibly beat her, confident that she will win because that is what she has decided to do. The characteristic she most consistently displays, then is the desire to win races. It is her obsession.

When the day of the race arrives, Squeaky sets her mentally challenged brother Raymond in a nearby swing and begins her pre-race rituals. When she finally stands at the starting line with her next-fastest rival Gretchen Lewis, Squeaky has no doubts about the eventual outcome of this race. When the race begins, it is as if she is in a kind of trance and the race is mostly a blur; however, today she sees that Raymond is running the race with her on the other side of the fence. After the race is over, she thinks about seeing Raymond running so well next to her and thinks that maybe Raymond could learn to be a runner. She says:

And I’m smiling to beat the band cause if I’ve lost this race, or if me and Gretchen tied, 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.

Over the course of her short race, something in Squeaky changes. Instead of thinking only about herself, she begins to think about her brother running next to her and about how she can make him successful. She also, remarkably, does not see winning as being quite as important as it was just a few minutes ago--though she is certainly happy to hear her name, Hazel Elizabeth Deborah Parker, called as the winner.

In case we think that Squeaky will no longer be interested in winning, however, Squeaky tells us she can always beat Cynthia, the best speller, at the spelling bee or learn how to become the best pianist in the school. She is still determined to win, but seeing Raymond changes her thinking about running. She knows she can win races, so now she will stop to help Raymond be successful at something. The last line of the story is indicative of Squeaky's willingness to think about more about others than herself; she has ribbons and trophies, "[b]ut what has Raymond got to call his own?" 

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