abstract profiles of main characters Byron and Mark

That Was Then, This Is Now

by S. E. Hinton

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Student Question

What are Mike and Bryon's attitudes towards school in "That Was Then, This Is Now"?

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Throughout the novel, Bryon is characterized as intelligent and educated, while Mark is portrayed as being irresponsible. In Chapter 4, Bryon mentions that Mark goes to school simply because it is the only thing to do. Mark doesn't like school the way that Bryon does, and Bryon says that they don't see each other often in school because they aren't in the same classes. There are several moments in the novel that depict Byron's affinity for literature and he is obviously in more challenging classes than Mark. Byron even says, "I'm a smart kid, so I was put in classes with other smart kids" (Hinton 33). Mark doesn't care about succeeding in the classroom and doesn't take school seriously, while Bryon tries his best to earn good grades. Byron even discovers that Mark routinely borrows the principal's car to meet his probation officer during school hours which illustrates his nonchalant attitude towards the public school system. Bryon also mentions that they go to a huge high school and that he really doesn't fit in with the Socs and recognizes their insincerity. Socially, Bryon seeks to be well liked and Mark enjoys the attention he received after the fight at the school dance.

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