If I Stay

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If I Stay 4:57 AM Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Mia mulls over the lyrics her father wrote years ago, meditating in particular on the lyric “I’m not choosing. But I’m running out of fight.” She struggles with the decision she is facing—while she knows her Mom would be “livid” if she decides to follow her family in death, Mia wonders if her Dad, like Gramps, would understand if she gave up “the fight.” She sings “Waiting for Vengeance” to herself, searching for an answer in the lyrics.
Mia must decide whether to follow what her Mom would want for her, or whether the loss of her family’s presence would be too much to bear as she moves forward in life. Unsure of how her father would weigh in on her decision, Mia looks to his song lyrics to speculate.
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Meanwhile, Willow convinces the head nurse to allow Adam to visit Mia. Fatigued from the surgery, Mia (the out-of-body Mia) is unable to leave the room, despite her nervousness at seeing Adam. She curls up into a ball onto a chair, and listens to Adam talk to Nurse Ramirez. Adam regrets the stunt he pulled earlier in a vain attempt to see Mia, but the nurse tells him he was being romantic. She also tells Adam that while it’s true Mia’s heart stopped on the operating room table, the surgeons were able to successfully fix a perforation in her bowel. While Adam is convinced it was the stress of the situation he created that caused Mia to almost die, the nurse reassures him that Mia is fine now.
As time wears on, Mia’s physical body seems to become more linked to her out-of-body self. This makes her impending decision all the more real. While the surgeons were able to fix the perforation, she knows that “giving up the fight,” or not making the conscious decision to remain alive, will mean that she will soon die. Adam’s presence complicates that option, as he is one of the reasons she would want to stay.
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Nurse Ramirez leaves Adam and Mia alone in the room. While Adam is initially in shock when he sees the state Mia is in, he quickly relaxes and takes her hands. He notes that they are cold as usual, and begins to blow on them as if to warm her up. Mia recalls that this is something he often does, even in public and in front of her parents, and is a display of affection that makes her want to reach out and touch him. He drops Mia’s hand and begins to say “Please,” over and over again, and begs her not to make him “write a song.”
Even though Mia had felt tension between her and Adam prior to the accident, Adam’s reflexive displays of affection remind her why they fell in love in the first place. Adam begs Mia not to make him “write a song,” because he only writes songs about things that upset him. Once again, Adam (like Mia) perceives things in musical terms.
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In a flashback, Mia recalls that before Adam, she never expected to fall in love. She and Kim always assumed they would be the “kind of girls” who had boyfriends in college, but not in high school. When Mia fell in love with Adam, however, it felt just right, despite the fact that they often fought, such as over the fact that Adam never wrote any songs about Mia. He tells her that she would have to cheat on him to get a song written about her, which they both knew would never happen.
From Mia’s perspective, her relationship with Adam has prevailed despite obstacles like their differing social situations. Because their love for each other is intrinsically linked to their love of music, Mia is upset that Adam never wrote a song for her. They both assume, however, that neither of them would ever cheat on the other.
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However, Mia recalls fighting with Adam more than ever that past fall, usually due to the tension of where Mia would end up after high school graduation. Adam is a year older than Mia, and has planned to remain in Oregon for a few more years in order to pursue success with his band. While he still lives nearby with his band, he is often out touring or playing gigs. She initially withheld from him the fact that she was auditioning for Juilliard, afraid of the conversation they would have to have if she decided to attend.
Mia and Adam’s relationship seems perfect and devoid of fights, until their potential separation becomes all the more real when Mia aces her audition for Juilliard, and Shooting Star begins to go on tours. Mia doesn’t tell Adam about her audition at first, because that would make her potential future decision all the more real.
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After Mia aces the Juilliard audition, she first tells Adam she just did “okay,” then changes her mind and tells him she played better than ever. When Adam announces they need to celebrate, they have a difficult time finding a mutual night to have dinner due to their busy music schedules. He notes to Mia, “Things are getting complicated, aren’t they?” She agrees, citing their busy schedules, but he replies that that’s not what he meant.
Adam and Mia both sense that there is tension in their relationship, but abstain from speaking about it out loud for the same reason that Mia initially doesn’t confess that her audition went well—if either of them vocalizes the issue, then it makes it seem that much more real.
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Mia and Adam try to diffuse the tension by joking about Mia going to a local college to study cello, and about Adam’s band moving to New York. However, they both know that neither option is truly feasible. They both avoid making future plans with each other, out of mutual fear that they may not be together for much longer. At a New Year’s Eve party several weeks prior to the accident, Adam and Mia promise each other that they will be together on the next New Year’s Eve. Mia does not return home that night, which does not faze her family.
For both Mia and Adam, their first love is music. Though Mia and Adam joke about Shooting Star moving to New York or Mia studying the cello in Oregon, they both know that Adam would never leave his band, and Mia wouldn’t give up Juilliard. Being physically together next New Years would thus mean that one of their dreams has failed—or that they attempt a long-distance relationship. The New Year’s promise also relates to Mia’s current decision—if she decides to die, she’ll be breaking her promise to Adam.
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But Mom recognizes that Mia seems upset. They discuss Mia’s worry about the future of her relationship with Adam. Mom admits that while she believes Adam and Mia are truly in love, relationships can be tough despite the love between two people. She agrees to support Mia through whatever she decides to do, whether she chooses to stay in Oregon to be with Adam, or whether she chooses to move to New York City to study at Juilliard.
Mom’s commitment to supporting Mia, no matter what her ultimate decision, can be directly applied to Mia’s current situation. Even though Mia knows Mom would want her to fight on and keep living, she knows that at the end of the day, Mom will understand and accept her decisions, since she respects Mia’s sense of responsibility and morality.
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In another flashback, Mia recalls the last time she and Adam discussed the future of their relationship, on Adam’s futon in the “House of Rock” he lives in. Mia notes that even though her Juilliard audition went well, it’s possible that she will not be accepted, and that she will attend school in Oregon, allowing them to stay together. Adam replies that if the alternative occurs, and Mia is accepted to Juilliard, he knows that the choice (for her to go to New York, and for them to be apart) has already been made. Adam knows he could never keep Mia from Juilliard, and Mia notes that Adam’s already been off on his own Juilliard-like adventure, in the form of his band’s rising popularity and exposure. Still, they express their mutual love for each other, despite what the future may bring.
Regardless of what the future may bring for Adam and Mia, they both know that they must support each other on their paths to fulfilling their dreams of becoming musicians. It is a true testament to their feelings for each other that neither expects the other to give up pursuing their passion in order to save the relationship. Both Mia’s potential for a future relationship with Adam and her possible future of studying at Juilliard are major factors when she considers the pros of staying alive.
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