abstract profiles of main characters Byron and Mark

That Was Then, This Is Now

by S. E. Hinton

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In That Was Then, This Is Now, what changes do Mark and Bryon experience while growing up?  

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Bryon and Mark grow up like brothers, living life blithely on the edge, fighting, hustling, and hot-wiring cars.  During their sixteenth year, Bryon begins to seek an adult identity, questioning the gang mentality of fighting and revenge, wrestling with issues of accountability, and widening his circle of friends to include a serious relationship with a girl.  Mark, however, clings to the old ways, persisting in a moral obliviousness, and the two grow apart.  When Byron discovers Mark is dealing drugs, his developing sense of moral responsibility lead him to turn Mark in.  Mark loses his easy-going outlook to a blinding, bitter hatred for Bryon and the world, and, spiraling quickly downward, ends up in the state penitentiary.  Bryon is left numb and completely bewildered, wishing for the days of childhood when everything was simple.

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