Why did M&M run away in That Was Then, This is Now?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

M&M is the quintessential hippie who is sensitive, has long hair, and promotes peace. In Chapter 3, Bryon goes over to M&M's house to pick up Cathy for a school dance. While Bryon is waiting in the house, Mrs. Carlson talks to him and asks Bryon how he can tell M&M and Cathy apart. Mr. Carlson overhears their conversation and makes a smart comment about M&M's hair. Mrs. Carlson says, "Now, Jim...We agreed not to say any more about M&M's hair" (Hinton 50). After Mrs. Carlson asks Bryon about his grades, Mr. Carlson mentions that M&M is failing math and gym. M&M's father says, "How anyone can flunk gym is beyond me" (Hinton 51). Bryon comments that M&M could hear the entire conversation and was pretending that he wasn't listening. When Bryon gets into the car, Cathy voices her concerns about M&M and is worried that her father is picking on him too much about his grades and hair.

In Chapter 6, Bryon is driving everyone around the popular part of town known as the Ribbon, when M&M tells him to drive by the hot-dog stand. When Bryon pulls up, M&M hops out and tells them that he has some friends around that he's going to hang out with. When Bryon and Cathy ask what time he wants to be picked up, M&M says, "Not ever. I'm not going home" (Hinton 103). M&M walks away, and Bryon and Cathy drive around the Ribbon until one o'clock in the morning looking for him.

In Chapter 7, Cathy comes home and explains to her father that M&M ran away. Her father is not concerned and tells her that M&M is simply going through a stage and says that M&M will be home tomorrow. Cathy blames her father for causing M&M to run away. She mentions that M&M ran away because he was sick of his father picking on him about his hair and flunking gym.