If I Stay

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Punk Rock and Classical Music Symbol Analysis

Punk Rock and Classical Music  Symbol Icon

Mia’s Mom and Dad met in their early twenties, when Dad was in a punk rock band. Unlike her parents, however, Mia’s love of the cello led her to classical music, her preferred genre. Classical music is what makes Mia feel unique, but it is also what makes her feel different, even within her own family. Her family is surprised by Mia’s affinity for the cello when she is young, but they soon come to realize that she has immense talent, and they support her music studies even if they can’t understand her choice of genre. Like Mom and Dad, Adam is also in a rock band, and Mia often feels out of place at his concerts and with his band mates, especially because she is quieter and more introverted than his loud, outgoing fans. For Halloween, Mia dresses up like Adam’s punk friends do—essentially crossing over from her world of classical music to the world of punk music—and feels more accepted by Adam’s community. However, Adam tells Mia that while he appreciates the effort, he likes her just the way she is. Mia ultimately comes to realize that it is a love for music, no matter the genre, that connects her to her family and to Adam.

Punk Rock and Classical Music Quotes in If I Stay

The If I Stay quotes below all refer to the symbol of Punk Rock and Classical Music . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Sacrifice and Choice Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Speak edition of If I Stay published in 2010.
7:09 AM Quotes

I know it’s silly but I have always wondered if Dad is disappointed that I didn’t become a rock chick. I’d meant to. Then, in third grade, I’d wandered over to the cello in music class—it looked almost human to me. It looked like if you played it, it would tell you secrets, so I started playing. It’s been almost ten years now and I haven’t stopped.

Related Characters: Mia Hall (speaker), Denny Hall (Dad)
Related Symbols: The Cello, Punk Rock and Classical Music
Page Number: 8
Explanation and Analysis:

Hearing Teddy banging on his drums upstairs, Mia thinks about her family's relationship to music. Though her parents met through the punk rock music scene of the Pacific Northwest in their twenties, Mia has always been drawn to classical music. In this quote, she describes how she was drawn to the mysterious shape of the cello in the third grade, and has never looked back since. Even though Mia is very close to her family, she often wonders how she, a dark-haired classical music lover, ended up in a family of fair-haired punk rockers. A quiet, intense musician, she occasionally feels out of place among her outgoing family members. Here, she implies that her father may be prouder of Teddy's musical skills if he uses them for rock rather than classical music, like she does. She loves her family, and they are all musically talented, but Mia still feels somewhat out of place and different.

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8:17 AM Quotes

As usual, there is a battle for stereo dominance. Mom wants NPR. Dad wants Frank Sinatra. Teddy wants SpongeBob SquarePants. I want the classical-music station, but recognizing that I’m the only classical fan in the family, I am willing to compromise with Shooting Star.

Related Characters: Mia Hall (speaker), Kat Hall (Mom) , Denny Hall (Dad), Teddy Hall
Related Symbols: Punk Rock and Classical Music
Page Number: 13
Explanation and Analysis:
With a free day off from school and work due to the snow, Mia's family decides to visit family friends Willow and Henry. In the car, they debate over what music to listen to during the drive. While everyone in the family loves music, they often dispute over what kinds of music to listen to, as represented in this quote—one of many instances of choice in terms of music, and compromise in terms of harmony. As shown in this example, the family members are close enough that they are always willing to compromise. In this quote, the compromise is Shooting Star, the local band that Mia's boyfriend Adam plays in. This instance is representative of the harmony that the family maintains in nearly every situation, despite their varying preferences. 
9:23 AM Quotes

Sometimes I did feel like I came from a different tribe. I was not like my outgoing, ironic dad or my tough-chick mom. And as if to seal the deal, instead of learning to play electric guitar, I’d gone and chosen the cello.

Related Characters: Mia Hall (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Cello, Punk Rock and Classical Music
Page Number: 23
Explanation and Analysis:

When she was eight years old, Mia fell in love with the cello: she was drawn to the human-like shape of the instrument, and felt passionate about the music she could make in tandem with its strings. At first, her parents were incredulous about such a small girl playing a rather large instrument, particularly one that was so different from the punk rock music that they loved and listened to. However, their love of Mia meant that they were willing to put aside musical preferences to support their daughter in her interests.Though Mia never doubted that her parents were proud of her, she always felt slightly out of place among the punk, outgoing personalities of her Mom and Dad. To her, her parents' punk-rock lifestyle and her classical pursuits seemed to mean that she was inherently "uncool," despite the family she was born into. Yet, this discomfort is not enough to dissuade her from pursuing the kind of music that she loves. Once again, this quote is an example of how Mia finds herself making choices and separating herself from others, but also compromising and finding harmony with her family and friends.

5:42 AM Quotes

So I played. And even though you wouldn’t think it, the cello didn’t sound half bad with all those guitars. In fact, it sounded pretty amazing.

Related Characters: Mia Hall (speaker), Adam Wilde, Denny Hall (Dad)
Related Symbols: The Cello, Punk Rock and Classical Music
Page Number: 227
Explanation and Analysis:

In this quote, Mia recalls an impromptu party that her family threw one Labor Day. Neighbors and friends come over, and they enjoy barbecue and watermelon together. Later in the evening, Dad and Adam begin to jam on their guitars together. They implore Mia to join them, and begrudgingly, she agrees. Though she is concerned at first that the different instruments won't sound good together, she is surprised to realize how great the two string instruments sound in harmony. This incident is a metaphor for Mia's relationship to both her parents and Adam in terms of musical taste. Though Adam, Mom, and Dad are all big fans of punk rock music, Mia prefers classical music above anything else, though she does enjoy Adam's band, Shooting Star. This difference often makes her nervous that there is something inherently incompatible about her and Adam as a couple, or as a child to her parents in the context of the family dynamic. However, the people around her are always supportive of her passion for the cello, and in instances such as this one, she is reminded of how differences between people—or instruments—can give rise to incredibly beautiful and rich experiences, relationships, and musical jam sessions. 

7:16 AM Quotes

Yo-Yo Ma continues to play, and it’s like the piano and cello are being poured into my body, the same way that the IV and blood transfusions are. And the memories of my life as it was, and the flashes of it as it might be, are coming so fast and furious. I feel like I can no longer keep up with them but they keep coming and everything is colliding, until I cannot take it anymore. Until I cannot be like this one second longer.

Related Characters: Mia Hall (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Cello, Punk Rock and Classical Music
Page Number: 232
Explanation and Analysis:

In a last-ditch effort to rouse Mia out of her coma, Adam puts headphones over Mia's ears. He presses "play" on an iPod, and the music of Yo-Yo Ma (whom they saw in concert for their first date) floods her ears. Despite all of the reminiscing and flashbacks that Mia has thought of during the last few hours since the accident, it is this music that triggers the most emotion. It is this overwhelming feeling of how much she loves music, and how much she loved making and feeling this music with the people around her, that brings Mia to the place where she knows without a doubt that she cannot leave. She knows that to honor the memories of her family, it is her duty to remain alive—this way, she can continue to make music and keep that love alive. Though Teddy, Mom, and Dad are gone, music, combined with the love of the friends and family members who remain alive, will transport her to a place of comfort, even in the face of grief. 

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Punk Rock and Classical Music Symbol Timeline in If I Stay

The timeline below shows where the symbol Punk Rock and Classical Music appears in If I Stay. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
7:09 AM
Music and Harmony  Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Relationships  Theme Icon
...recall that Mom, a former rocker-chick, took time to warm up to Mia’s love of classical music and Mia’s “marathon” practice sessions. Then a crash sounds—it’s Teddy playing on Dad’s old... (full context)
Sacrifice and Choice Theme Icon
Music and Harmony  Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Relationships  Theme Icon
...and Henry, married friends of the family who used to be musicians in the same punk-rock scene as Mom and Dad. Though Mia knows that Adam is busy with his touring... (full context)
9:23 AM
Sacrifice and Choice Theme Icon
Music and Harmony  Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Relationships  Theme Icon
...parents’ subsequent apologies. Mia notes that she often feels out of place as a dark-haired classical music lover in a family of fair-haired punk rockers, and has sometimes wondered whether she... (full context)
12:19 PM
Music and Harmony  Theme Icon
Life and Death  Theme Icon
...room, the doctors debate on what kind of music to play. Mia silently roots for classical, which they ultimately decide upon, though she is not too pleased with their selection of... (full context)
3:47 PM
Music and Harmony  Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Relationships  Theme Icon
...Adam’s band’s shows, where he is the center of attention, surrounded by members of the punk scene. However, she loves to watch Adam play the guitar, even if she feels out... (full context)
Music and Harmony  Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Relationships  Theme Icon
...not have developed to the extent that it did. Adam was able to bond over punk music with Mia’s Mom and Dad, and he even plays basketball with her Dad as... (full context)
4:47 PM
Sacrifice and Choice Theme Icon
Music and Harmony  Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Relationships  Theme Icon
Life and Death  Theme Icon
...to their children as “accidents” or “mistakes.” Both of her parents were involved in the punk-music scene, and married young. Mia was conceived the night of one of Mia’s parent’s friend’s... (full context)
5:40 PM
Music and Harmony  Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Relationships  Theme Icon
...of attending another one of Adam’s shows, where she feels out of place in the punk scene. When Adam leaves Mia’s house, Mia is left wondering yet again why Adam is... (full context)
Sacrifice and Choice Theme Icon
Music and Harmony  Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Relationships  Theme Icon
...shopping and digs out her clothes from when she was Mia’s age to create a punk ensemble. When Mia dons a blond wig, she notes that for the first time, she... (full context)
Sacrifice and Choice Theme Icon
Music and Harmony  Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Relationships  Theme Icon
After the show, Mia asks Adam if he prefers her punk-rock persona to her quiet classical music personality. Adam replies that while he appreciates her attempting... (full context)
7:13 PM
Sacrifice and Choice Theme Icon
Music and Harmony  Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Relationships  Theme Icon
...divided into two groups, such as people who like pop music and people who like classical music, or girls who have boyfriends in high school, and girls who don’t. As Mia... (full context)
10:40 PM
Sacrifice and Choice Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Relationships  Theme Icon
Life and Death  Theme Icon
...Peter Hellman from camp, who died of lymphoma. A friend of the family from the punk music scene, Kerry Gifford, died of a freak brain aneurysm while operating the soundboard for... (full context)
2:48 AM
Sacrifice and Choice Theme Icon
Music and Harmony  Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Relationships  Theme Icon
...as finally learning how to drive a car (rather than bicycling everywhere) and exchanging his punk-rock wardrobe with a vintage buttoned-up style from the 1950s. He goes back to school and... (full context)