That Was Then, This Is Now




Mark is Bryon’s best friend and adopted brother, orphaned after his parents shot each other when he was nine years old. Mark is a handsome, charming boy whom Bryon often describes as being able to “get away with anything.” As childhood turns into young adulthood, however, Mark’s inability to differentiate between right and wrong begins to complicate his life as well as his relationship with Bryon. As Bryon begins to look at things from a more mature perspective, Mark aggressively resists this process. Mark insists that “nothing bad ever happens when you’re a kid”; therefore, Mark says, he intends to continue being a kid.

Mark’s behavior is never deliberately malicious, and he is loyal to his friends, whom he defends bravely and fiercely. Unfortunately, Mark is unable to see that there are moral consequences to some of his illegal behaviors, such as being responsible for dangerous drugs getting into the hands of children. Nevertheless, there is a sense of tragedy and unfairness to Mark’s harsh sentencing. With his fiercely independent spirit, prison could well “kill” Mark, as Bryon himself realizes once it is too late. By the end of the novel, Mark has changed from a carefree, smooth-talking charmer to a sinister, angry person, and the book suggests little hope that more prison time will have a positive effect on Mark. 

Sign up to continue reading Mark >

Essays About That Was Then, This Is Now