Who is the antagonist in "Raymond's Run"?

Quick answer:

The antagonist in “Raymond’s Run” is Hazel’s society. There are strict unwritten rules for how girls ought to behave, and Hazel does not follow them. She is willing to fight others to protect her brother, she doesn’t want to dance around the maypole, and she doesn’t want to take turns winning races with other girls to be “nice.” She opposes the rules set by society, rules which various members attempt to enforce throughout the story.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

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 needs to reprioritize her own values. She is not a stereotypically “feminine” girl. She loves to run, she has no interest in dancing around the May pole and wearing frilly white dresses like the other girls, she doesn’t want to play silly roles like a “strawberry” in pageants, and she doesn’t really care about impressing other people with her “girly” achievements. She takes issue with the vast majority of people, feeling like “People are so stupid sometimes.”

Hazel doesn’t get along with girls her own age. She is irritated by Cynthia Proctor, a girl who pretends to be a prodigy, falling onto the piano stool “accidentally on purpose” and then playing waltzes as though it had only just occurred to her to do so. She is antagonized by Gretchen, Mary Louise, and Rosie: three girls who challenge her in different ways. Gretchen is her fiercest running competition, Mary Louise is a one-time friend who betrayed her, and Rosie is a mean girl who makes fun of Raymond and doesn’t realize that she is not very smart herself. Further, Hazel’s own mother gets “uptight” when walking with Hazel and pretends like “she’s not with” Hazel. She pretends that Hazel is “somebody else’s crazy child” when Hazel does her exercises to keep her knees strong on the street. Hazel’s mother “thinks it’s a shame” that Hazel doesn’t “act like a girl,” though Hazel thinks her mother ought to be glad that she’s not “trying to act like a fairy or a flower or whatever you’re supposed to be when you should be trying to be yourself.”

In short, Hazel clashes with just about everyone in her society over what a girl should do or be like; she doesn’t want to play waltzes or be friends with the other girls or dance around a maypole. She certainly doesn’t want to throw the next May Day race to Gretchen, as Mr. Pearson suggests, and that is apparently something a nice girl would do. Thus, the antagonist is Hazel’s society.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Who is the protagonist in the story "Raymond's Run"?

Protagonist is a literature teacher word for "leading character."  In the short story "Raymond's Run," Hazel Elizabeth Deborah Parker is the protagonist.  She is also known as "Squeaky."  I like describing "protagonist" as the "central character."  The reason I like the word "central" is because it makes me think of a pivot point that turns or that things can revolve around.  Thinking of a protagonist in this way really highlights his/her central importance to the entire story.  It also shows how a protagonist can turn/change.  That's definitely true of Hazel.  She begins the story as an aloof and tough girl.  She cares most about herself and intentionally distances herself from her peers.  She sees other girls as competition to be beaten.  But by the end of the story, she has taken on a softer persona.  She begins coaching her disabled brother and realizes that other girls are not always there to be competed against.  

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 for each other, considering we don’t practice real smiling every day, you know, cause maybe we too busy being flowers or fairies or strawberries instead of something honest and worthy of respect . . . you know . . . like being people.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Who is the protagonist in the story "Raymond's Run"?

In Toni Cade Bambara’s short story “Raymond’s Run” the protagonist is Hazel Elizabeth Deborah Parker, who is known as Squeaky.The protagonist is the central character who generally undergoes a change or resolves a problem. At the beginning of the story, Squeaky’s identity is based on her athletic prowess as the fastest runner in her inner city neighborhood. As the story progresses, the reader experiences Squeaky’s change in self identity from a tough, antagonistic school girl to a young woman whose focus changes from being self-centered to seeing her disabled brother as a person with potential. She realizes that other girls are not always adversaries but they have the potential to be friends. As the protagonist, Hazel Elizabeth Deborah Parker, resolves her inner conflict as she comes to a new realization in her self-worth.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Who is the the protagonist in "Raymond's Run"?  

The protagonist is Squeaky, whose real name is Hazel Elizabeth Deborah Parker.

The word "protagonist" means the main character of the story, or the person the story is mostly about.  It is the hero of the story.

This story's protagonist, Squeaky, is a very interesting character.  She is strong-willed, but empathetic.  Squeaky has two passions in life—running, and her older brother Raymond.  Squeaky is very protective of Raymond and looks out for him.  Raymond has mental handicaps.  He is big, but has a younger child’s mind.  This often leads people to tease him, and Squeaky stops them.

In addition to taking care of her brother, Squeaky’s hobby is running.  It is more than just a casual pastime for her.  She is a very good runner, and she practices constantly so that she can get even better.  All Squeaky thinks about is beating the other kids in the May Day race.

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 fiftyyard dash. And tomorrow I’m subject to run the quarter-meter relay all by myself and come in first, second, and third.

Squeaky’s nickname is Mercury because she is so fast.  She trains for running by running often and practicing special moves that make her mother embarrassed to be around her.  For Squeaky, running is easier than being around other girls.  She just doesn’t quite get along with the neighborhood children and isn't close to any of them.  She thinks the girls are disingenuous. 

The race turns out to be the key to getting Squeaky to realize that other girls can be her friend.  She admires Gretchen, previously a sworn enemy, for coming in second. 

“In second place— Miss Gretchen P. Lewis.” And I look over at Gretchen wondering what the “P” stands for. And I smile. Cause she’s good, no doubt about it. Maybe she’d like to help me coach Raymond; she obviously is serious about running, as any fool can see.

Squeaky realizes that people other than her like running, and running can be a good common ground for her.  Since she watched her brother run a race of his own parallel to her, she sees running as a way to get closer to him too.   She and her brother finally have something in common, and it is the same thing she has in common with Gretchen.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Who is the protagonist in Toni Cade Bambara's story "Raymond's Run"?  

Squeaky is the protagonist of "Raymond's Run" because she is the main character who undergoes some conflict and change in attitude.

As the narrator, Squeaky mentions her antagonists as Gretchen, against whom she competes for a medal on May Day at the local park, and Cynthia Proctor, who wins the spelling bees, but pretends that she does not study. Another one is Mary Louise Williams, who mocks Raymond's mental handicap. 

Squeaky undergoes changes in her attitudes after the race. Her feelings toward Gretchen and toward Raymond both are altered. As she sprints along, Squeaky sees Raymond on the other side of the fence with his arms stretched behind him and his palms upward much in the manner in which geese run with their necks stretched and wings straight behind them. She is absolutely amazed at his skill. After the race, she narrates, "...it occurred to me that Raymond would make a very fine runner."

Also at the end of the race, after Squeaky races across the finish line, she leans over to catch her breath, and she notices Gretchen, who has also overshot the finish line. "I sort of like her a little for the first time," Squeaky immediately remarks. Later, after Gretchen is given second place, Squeaky indicates to Gretchen her change of heart:

....And I smile. Cause she's good, no doubt about it. Maybe she'd like to help me coach Raymond.

Clearly, Squeaky is the protagonist of "Raymond's Run" since she changes her opinions of both Gretchen and Raymond. Now, she realizes that they are richer in heart and talent than she had previously thought.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Who is the protagonist of "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 story was written in the first-person point of view.

Expected to look after Raymond, Squeaky's main claim to fame within her community (and among her peers) lies in her running ability and her record for winning races. She is unconventional, not afraid of defying society's expectations, and not one to shy away from confrontation. As the story opens, she is anticipating the upcoming round of the annual May Day races and her looming confrontation with Gretchen, her would-be-challenger and rival. This race serves as the story's climax.

Yet it is the epiphany coinciding with that climactic race that proves to be more important than her victory in the race itself. As she runs her race, Hazel witnesses her brother running at the same time, and she determines to set her own racing career aside to coach Raymond instead. At the same time, she comes to accept Gretchen, recognizing her rival's own dedication and seriousness as a runner (with the two of them apparently becoming friends). In this respect, "Raymond's Run" can be understood as a coming-of-age story, depicting a critical moment in Hazel's life.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Last Updated on