That Was Then, This Is Now



Bryon is the protagonist of That Was Then, This is Now, and the story is told entirely from his perspective. At the beginning of the novel, the sixteen-year-old has a casual attitude about hustling, gang fights, and being a “lady-killer.” His attitude is noticeably immature, especially when contrasted with the thirteen-year-old M&M, who happens to be naturally more sensitive and intelligent. As the story evolves, however, Bryon begins to question everything about the way he is used to living, and begins taking painful steps toward adulthood. As Bryon grows up, he begins taking more responsibility for his actions, especially after his role model Charlie dies.

Bryon’s serious relationship with Cathy is another important factor in his development. Because of his love for Cathy, he begins to care about other people more than himself, which is especially evident when he goes out of his way to rescue M&M. Bryon’s growth, however, comes with a great many complications. More than once, he points out that “caring about people” is exhausting, and after turning Mark in to the police, Bryon turns his feelings of shame and anger onto Cathy unfairly, causing the end of their relationship. At the end of the novel, Bryon has alienated himself from all of his friends and spends most of his time alone, longing for a time when things were simpler. Since the novel is about the transitional period between childhood and adulthood, there is no reason to expect that Bryon will always be alone. Rather, the fact that he continues to question and examine what has happened indicates that he is still growing as a person, and that he may one day feel comfortable being close to people again.

Sign up to continue reading Byron >

Essays About That Was Then, This Is Now