That Was Then, This Is Now


Discussion Questions

Study Questions

1. Although Mark and Bryon are very close friends and consider each other brothers, they are very different types of people. What are some of the ways in which their personalities differ? How does Hinton convey the differences between the two boys?

2. S. E. Hinton uses foreshadowing a number of times in the novel. Find at least three examples of foreshadowing, and discuss how these examples contribute to the overall tone of the novel.

3. Compare the two significant female characters in the novel, Angela and Cathy. In what ways do they differ? How are their home environments and families different? How might their family circumstances contribute to the differences in their personalities?

Essay Topics

1. Nearly everyone in the novel comes from some type of broken home, or at least has to struggle with poverty. Not every character responds in the same way to his or her challenging circumstances, however. Choose any two characters in the novel, and write an essay comparing and contrasting their responses to adversity.

2. According to S. E. Hinton, many readers of That Was Then, This Is Now have written to tell her that after reading the book, they “threw it against the wall.” Did you have a similar reaction? In your opinion, does the ending of the novel ring true? Write an essay discussing your reaction to the novel’s resolution (or lack thereof).

3. In your opinion, is Bryon’s decision to turn Mark into the police the right thing to do? Choose a stance on the issue, and write an essay defending your opinion.

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