abstract profiles of main characters Byron and Mark

That Was Then, This Is Now

by S. E. Hinton

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Why does M&M label Bryon and Mark as "weird" in That Was Then, This Is Now?

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M&M calls Bryon and Mark weird because of their hypocrisy.  He tells them,

"You make me sick!  You just rescued me from some guys who were going to beat me up because I'm different from them, and now you're going to beat up someone because he's different from you.  You think I'm weird - well, you're the weird ones".

M&M has a reputation for being a "nice guy, but weird".  He is "a hippie in a hood's part of town", reads Newsweek when most other guys would prefer to peruse "skin mags", the "most serious guy" Bryon and Mark know.  He is "real absent-minded" and has a disarming honesty.  In contrast to the cool, tough-guy persona adopted by most of the other kids in the neighborhood, M&M wears his "charcoal-colored hair down past his ears and down to his eyebrows...always (wears) an old Army jacket that (is) too big for him and (goes) barefoot even after it start(s) getting cold...he (has a metal peace symbol hanging around his neck on a piece of rawhide string".  The quintessential hippie except for his often almost clueless naivete, M&M has run-ins with his father over the way he dresses, and is "one of those nonviolent types who practice(s) what he preache(s)". 

Bryon and Mark have just run off some hoods who have stalked and jumped M&M and cut his metal peace symbol off its rawhide with a knife.  Now that the incident is over, the two boys, still feeling exhiliarated by their victory, are talking about getting a little more "action" by jumping a black guy who is standing nearby at the intersection waiting for the light to change.  M&M correctly points out the "weirdness" Bryon and Mark exhibit in being so hypocritical.  M&M cannot understand how the two can save him from being persecuted for his differences one minute, then nonchalantly persecute someone else for the same reason the next (Chapter 1).

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