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Hazel is hell bent on continuing her winning streak at an annual race event held on May Day (Bambara 1-2). However, she has to juggle caring for her brother Raymond and race preparations while simultaneously dealing with insensitive remarks about Raymond’s mental handicap. At the story’s conclusion, Hazel emerges victorious and finds new respect for Gretchen and Raymond’s Down syndrome (Bambara 4).
The author uses flashbacks throughout the story. For example, Hazel remembers taking Mary Louise under her wing when the latter was new to the neighborhood. In addition, she recounts her distaste for Cynthia Procter’s pretentiousness when she remembers the latter’s lie about not adequately preparing for a spelling bee event (Bambara 2).
Bambara’s description of events is believable because she addresses challenges that face children in real-life; for example, jealousy and rivalry between young girls, as they strive to prove their superiority.
The kind of conflict, central to the Raymond’s Run, is a sort of inner conflict of the protagonist. From the first glance it may seem that the whole story is about confrontation of two athletes, Squeky and Gretchen, but things are much more complicated, and the existing conflict between girls is an external one. Upon the deeper reflection the reader recognizes that twenty year old Squeky struggles to find her place in life, as she strives to do more than just watch Raymond. This girl uses running as a tool to construct another identity of the more confident and successful individual. However, her passion in running does not meet parental expectations, as they find Squeky’s hobby impair her girlishness. A vivid example of that conflict is Squeky’s refusal to take part in maypole dancing with such an argumentation: “a poor Black girl who really can’t afford to buy shoes and a new dress you only wear once.” (Bambara 1).
Hazel Deborah Parker, or Squeky,
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