How do Bryon and Mark react to Mike's forgiveness in That was Then, This is Now?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Bryon hears the story of the hospitalized teenager, Mike Chambers, who was beaten badly after trying to befriend a black girl, it inspires him to make changes in his own life. A gang member himself, Chambers was beaten by a group of black teens after the girl who he had tried to help turned on him, directing her friends to kill Mike. Despite her betrayal, Mike decides to turn the other cheek and not seek revenge, claiming that he holds no grudges agains the girl. Mike's story inspires Bryon, who decides to refrain from violence and further gang activity. Mark, however, is not impressed, calling Mike a "damn fool." Mark does not understand the compassion that Mike felt, and he calls Mike's attitude "sick," chastizing Bryon for not allowing him to "get even for you" with the Shepard gang, who had beaten Bryon after Mark had cut off Angela Shepard's hair. Mike's words inspire Bryon to get a job, but Mark's downward spiral merely continues.


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That Was Then, This Is Now

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