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The Importance Of Masks In 'Raymond's Run'

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Imagine a world where everyone and everything is the same. So many people are forced to hide their inner selves with a mask, causing them to pretend they are just like everyone else-even though they are not. Expectations help pull the masks over the miserable faces. Many people are pushed to hide who they really are when they mean to impress others because the want to appear “normal”. All this affects their self-worth and self-esteem, pulling them under a veil of regret and self-doubt. Similarly, the character Hazel Elizabeth Deborah Parker (also known as Squeaky), the protagonist in the short story “Raymond's Run” by Toni Cade Barbara, uses a mask to hide her feelings from others. She resides in poverty-stricken Harlem taking place in the 1960s. …show more content…
In the story, we catch glimpses of Squeaky’s living conditions, as the are not the best. She lives with her judgemental parents, and is forced to take care of her disabled brother, Raymond. Although Squeaky acts tough and strong, it is shown throughout the story that her mother’s expectations are affecting her self-worth and identity. Everyone is trying to put a mask over her real identity, hoping she will become “a regular girl.” Similarly, Mulan, the protagonist in the song called “Reflection,” expresses her loss in identity due to the pressure put on her from her family. She is supposed to uphold her family’s honor and make them proud; yet when she tries, she fails because that is not who she is. “Raymond’s Run” and the song “Reflection” both share the common theme: to be strong and not let what others think get in the way of being

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