Raymond's Run

Toni Bambara

Plot and Theme

In “Raymond’s Run,” Bambara continues to develop the concept of platonic connection between people based on empathy, rather than on family relationship or a common identity. A relationship also develops at the end of “Raymond’s Run,” when Squeaky resolves her differences with Gretchen. Although Squeaky does not discover much in common with Gretchen, her concern for Raymond encourages her to try and find common ground with her adversary.

Although Raymond is often an inconvenience to Squeaky because of his disability, she loves him fiercely, and learns from his simple goodness and enthusiasm for life. Her innate competitiveness is mediated by Raymond's simple joy, and one gets the sense that she could be far more antagonistic if his presence did not balance her out.

Unlike many of the other stories, this story follows a fairly conventional narrative and character arc. Over the course of the story, Squeaky changes as a result of both the plot events and her interaction with Raymond. This is appropriate to her character; because she is a young girl, it is plausible that a few mundane events over the course of a weekend could completely change her outlook on life. Squeaky is bold and runs to the beat of her own drummer.

Squeaky in this story never submits to her mother’s ideas about how women should behave.


Characterters

RUNNING RUNNING GONE!

Summary

Although the race scene is certainly dramatic, the most important action in “Raymond’s Run” is internal. Bambara expresses the story’s themes not through the plot events, which are mundane, but rather through Squeaky’s thoughts and emotions. This story ends with the narrator deciding upon a future course of action, rather than upon her actually performing the act. It may be life’s most important changes are not in one’s circumstances, but in how one responds to those circumstances. The story here is not that of the race, but rather that of what the race made Squeaky realize.