How is That Was Then, This Is Now a representative of "coming of age" literature?

Expert Answers
mizzwillie eNotes educator| Certified Educator

That Was Then, This Is Now by S.E. Hinton is a good representative of "coming of age" literature.  "Coming of Age" literature usually shows the growth of at least one character moving from childhood into adult thinking and actions.  Bryon Douglas, in contrast to Mark, begins to show adult thinking when he, as he dates Cathy more, says that,  "I had quit thinking only about myself."  Bryon also begins to see that he cannot do whatever he pleases, but that his actions have consequences, and not only for himself.  Charlie is the character who makes Bryon understand that he cannot look however he wants if he is serious about looking for a job.  Charlie helps Bryon understand that clothes project an image as does politeness over smart mouth know it all.   All of these changes in thinking and actions show that Bryon is "coming of age", becoming an adult instead of staying the young boy that Mark wants to stay with no changes in his life and no responsibilities.  When Bryon discovers the drugs Mark is selling, he faces the ultimate test of growing up into an adult, and turns Mark in for the illegal drugs.  Therefore, this novel definitely fits the "coming of age" literature standard in which at least one of the characters moves into adult thinking and behavior which Bryon fits.