How are Mike and M&M alike in That Was Then, This Is Now?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are several similarities between the characters Mike Chambers and M&M Carlson in the novel That Was Then This Is Now. Both boys are caring and compassionate individuals. They are empathetic towards others and follow their conscience during adverse situations. They also both prevent African American individuals from being ridiculed and assaulted. M&M stops Mark and Bryon from jumping a black man about to cross a street, and Mike prevents a group of white guys from harassing a young black female in a drugstore. However, despite their good nature and magnanimous personalities, both boys are rather naive and end up getting severely injured due to bad decisions they make throughout the novel. Mike suffers a severe beating after dropping off Connie in a black neighborhood, while M&M gets beat up while walking home alone and also loses his mind after taking acid. Despite being victims of assault, both Mike and M&M are forgiving. M&M tells Mark and Bryon to let Curly Shepard and his friends go, and Mike tells Bryon he doesn't blame Connie for telling her friends to beat him up. Mike and M&M are both innocent young men with good hearts who are tragic victims of a destructive society.

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That Was Then, This Is Now

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