S.E. Hinton's That Was Then, This Is Now

1643 words - 7 pages

In S.E. Hinton’s That Was Then, This is Now, Bryon matures throughout the novel and it influences his choices and actions in the absurd decisions he makes, such as reporting his “brother,” Mark, to the police and in his relationship with Cathy. The “coming of age” of Bryon is in his analysis and recall of everything he did, as a teenager. However, other themes are influenced by this theme, such as maturity, alcohol and drugs. Unfortunately, Bryon is going to have to make a decision whether he is going to surround himself with people who give him a positive influence or negative influence. In the beginning of the novel, Bryon does not know what he wants to be when he grows up; he is only focused about the present. However, as the story progresses, he realizes that there is more to life than violence and drugs. At the end of the novel, Bryon is uncertain whether he made the correct verdicts. Bryon is going to have to make an important decision that symbolizes the beginning of his adulthood.
Throughout the novel, the main theme of the story is Bryon’s “coming of age” as he matures from a twelve-year-old to a seventeen-year-old. Bryon recalls several past events as a thirteen-year-old and he later criticizes his actions. Bryon learns everything on his own because his mother is busy with work and his father has divorced his mother. Therefore, Bryon is forced to learn through experiences he encounters on the street. Fortunately, Mark, Bryon’s best friend, is in a similar situation as Bryon his mother and father both died in a gun fight. Bryon’s mother allows Mark to live with them, and this marks the beginning of their “brotherhood.” In the beginning of the novel, Bryon and Mark do everything together; however, as the novel progresses, their relationship begins to fall apart. Bryon begins pulling away from Mark, and Mark constantly tries to bring him back. Eventually, Bryon breaks away and he starts a new chapter in his life, adulthood. At the start of the novel, Bryon has a flashback of when him and Mark were “teenyboppers,” meaning that they were around thirteen-years-old, and how ridiculous they looked smoking at that age. He adds that even though they looked silly, they did not care about what other people thought about them. It is evident that Bryon senses, from the beginning of the novel that he is progressively aging and the activities he performs are different than what he used to do as a “teenybopper.” Bryon’s personality begins to change at the start of chapter three because he is desperately looking for a job and he does not know where or how to look for an interview.
Bryon approaches his friend Charlie, the bar owner, and asks him if he could apply for a job at the bar. Charlie is perplexed because he allows Bryon to enter his bar out of his generosity, since he is under aged, and now he is asking for a job. Charlie informs him that he cannot offer him a job at the bar; however, he tells him he needs to be dressed properly and he needs to...

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