Personal development of the main character in Raymond’s Run
Everyone has dreams and desires, but sometimes these can make it hard to think of someone besides one’s self. In the story “Raymond’s Run,” Squeaky is a determined and confident girl who is in the process of refining her value and personality. At the beginning of the story, Squeaky’s focus is winning and running, but by the end of the story, Squeaky realizes that life isn’t all about herself. Throughout the story, Squeaky learns lessons by observing people around her which changes her main focus. During the story, Squeaky’s character matures because of Gretchen’s and Raymond’s actions. Squeaky changes from the beginning of the story to the end because she became less self-centered, noticed her brother’s talent, and started to have respect for Gretchen. Squeaky’s character changed throughout the story because she became less self-centered.
In the beginning of the story, Squeaky claims that she is an invincible athlete by calling herself, “Miss Quicksilver”. As she continues to describe her abilities, she begins to describe the short comes around her. While describing her older brother Raymond, she says, “But as any fool can see he’s much bigger and he’s older too. But a lot of people call him my little brother because he’s not quite right.” This shows that Squeaky doesn’t understand Raymond’s simple mind. She also describes Gretchen and says, “She’s got short legs. In third place, she’s got freckles. In the first place, no one can beat me and that all there is to it.” She again recapitulates that she is the fastest runner which makes her a bit confrontational and at times, absent-minded to her brother’s special needs. She’s describing people negatively, which seem to have an effect on her and would separate herself from them.
She is very self-centered but throughout the story, she learns to appreciate determination and value of others. The confident girl’s character changes throughout the course of the story. Her respect for Raymond grows as the events take place and force her to look beyond herself. In the beginning of the story, Raymond is described as a vexation to Squeaky. She says, “He’s subject to fits of fantasy and starts thinking he’s a circus performer and the curb as a tightrope strung high in the air. And sometimes after the rain, he likes to step down off his tightrope right into a gutter and slosh around getting his shoes and cuffs wet.”
However, at the end of the story, while Squeaky is running, she is able to put aside her self-centered concerns and examines the talent Raymond possesses. As Squeaky finishes the race, she says, “ And it occurs to me, watching 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.” She remembered her brother’s ability to run, and she realizes that she can coach Raymond. Her negative view of Raymond changes to a positive. Her character changes throughout the story because she notices Raymond’s talent.
Evaluation of the Usage of Figures Of Speech in Toni Cade Bambara’s Story, Raymond’s Run
In the short story “Raymond’s Run” by Toni Cade Bambara, figurative language is used to further our understanding of how the characters and plot in the story develop and helps us get a better picture using our senses. Without this literary device some older readers could not get the nostalgic feel of the big city as Squeaky walks through the New York, nor can we truly understand the excited, but nervous thoughts before, during, and after the race in Squeaky’s mind. The ending where Squeaky changes her attitude is able to happen because of figurative language. Whether it be a metaphor, simile, symbolism, or any of the lesser known figurative language types, Bambara uses these all to their greatest extent in order for the reader to comprehend her story.
Before the race begins, Squeaky is doing everything she can to prepare herself for it, but she has a responsibility to fill while doing it, taking care of her bigger brother Raymond who kept along on her exercises and runs. Although it seems easier enough the task is more than enough to keep Squeaky occupied, sometimes he will go into the middle island on Broadway and disturb the peace. Picking up after Raymond only distracts her a bit as her main focus for the day were the May Day Races. The older kids called her Mercury which is a metaphor, because she was “the swiftest thing in the neighborhood,” Mercury was also the Roman messenger god and was the fastest of the gods. She had won every race before, but this year there was some greater competition a child prodigy that thought she could beat Squeaky. An allusion is also an example of figurative language, an encounter occurred between Squeaky, Raymond and Gretchen’s little posse of friends that Squeaky related to a famous movie, “I see right away that it’s going to be one of those Dodge City scenes,” in which cowboys faced off with guns. She had prepared and worked too hard to let these people get in her way of winning her race, so she gets them out of her path and continues her exercises and goes to the races.
At the race figurative language is used to give us more detail on the race. Squeaky is all business and has no time to watch the May Pole dancing. She thinks she is above all that nonsense and arrives late on purpose to miss the dancing. The races are set to start last in the event. She pins on the number seven which symbolizes perfection in the Bible, many other religions also make use of this number and in it is considered a lucky number by many in the real world. In order for us to know how Squeaky to concentrates before the race, imagery is used to describe her dream, “Every time, just before I take off in a race, I always feel like I’m in a dream, the kind of dream you have when you’re sick with fever and feel all hot and weightless…” A hyperbole is also used when she runs, she is the “fastest thing in the world” and that beating her father was possible. Finishing the race in first the rest of the kids dogpile on top of her and she assures that the rest of 151st can walk tall again, an idiom meaning to be brave or confident.
After the race Squeaky’s thoughts on both Raymond and Gretchen change. She realizes that Gretchen isn’t that bad and uses a simile to compare her to a pro, “breathing in steady time like a real pro and I sort of like her a little for the first time.” On top of that Gretchen could possibly help her train and coach Raymond, who Squeaky had also changed her thoughts on. In the beginning of the story she thinks of him as a burden and just a person who gets in her way of preparing for the race. Now looking at him again she sees something else, “he keeps rattling the fence like a gorilla in a cage like in them gorilla movies, but then like a dancer or something he starts climbing up nice and easy but very fast.” She sees plenty of potential, remembering that he keeps up with her during her trots and his unique running form. And seeing that Gretchen is also serious about running she thinks to herself that maybe she can help train Raymond.
In conclusion, this short story “Raymond’s Run,” by Toni Cade Bambara would not read the same without figurative language. Throughout the story figurative language assists the reader in understanding the development of plot and characters. This literary device is used in a majority of short stories too, and in this one the author has used many types of it to show us the thoughts of Squeaky, before, during, after the race. The feeling of the city cannot be felt and many other aspects would be lost. Figurative language is a key component to the success of the story.