abstract profiles of main characters Byron and Mark

That Was Then, This Is Now

by S. E. Hinton

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In Chapters 5-7 of "That Was Then, This is Now", what effect does the revelation of his true parentage have on Mark? REMEMBER - IT'S IN CHAPTER'S 5-7!

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Mark reacts to the revelation of his true parentage with a cold detachment that is chilling in its pragmatism and lack of emotionality.  His mother and father shoot each other during a drunken tirade when his father accuses his mother of infidelity, angrily observing about Mark, "I ain't never seen a kid with eyes that color.  Nobody on my side of the family has eyes that color - not on yours either!"  Mark's mother confirms his suspicions, brashly asserting, "That's right. Why should he look like anyone in your family?  He ain't yours".

Young Mark not only hears these harsh words, but he witnesses the carnage that takes place as a result as well, yet his only reaction is in thinking, "Well, I can go live with Bryon and his old lady...I got sick of (my parents) yelling and fighting all the time...this'll save me the trouble of shooting them myself".

Mark has always told Bryon, "You can't keep trying to figure out why things happen...you gotta just take things as they come, and quit trying to reason them out", yet the apparent ease with which he handled the revelation of his parentage and the resulting double murder of the people he had known as his mother and father shows a sociopathic tendency which is highly abnormal, and which makes Bryon, who is listening to Mark recount the incident, feel physically sick (Chapter 7).

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