Mia is a talented cellist who plans to pursue a career in classical cello music. She fell in love with the instrument as a child, initially due to its “humanlike” shape, and has played it ever since. While her parents are punk rockers at heart, Mia has always felt an affinity to classical music. In the novel, the cello is a symbol of what makes Mia unique, and also what makes her feel different from her parents and from Adam, who plays guitar in a rock band. The cello is what may bring her to New York City to study at Juilliard, but it will also be what will take her away from Oregon, and thus from Adam, whose band is based there. Mia also learns, however, that her cello can also be used to create harmony in her life, rather than dissonance. This is especially apparent in a symbolic scene where Mia plays her cello alongside her Dad and Adam on their guitars, and together they create a unique and “pretty amazing” sound. The power of the cello as a symbol is also illustrated in the book’s final scene—when Adam puts the headphones on Mia, it is ultimately both the music of Yo-Yo Ma and cello music’s overall meaningfulness to Mia that gives her the strength to decide to stay.
If I Stay
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The timeline below shows where the symbol The Cello appears in If I Stay. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...to, though she notes that she may have to rehearse with a pianist and her cello teacher, Professor Christie, instead. Mia is a talented cellist, and recently auditioned for a spot... (full context)
...parents supported her musical talents, and ensured that she was always able to study the cello privately with college students. When she surpassed the abilities of the college students at around... (full context)
...several months of chatting she realized he was genuinely interested in her attentiveness to the cello. While Adam is effortlessly cool, Mia’s introversion means that she is well-liked, but not overly... (full context)
...one visit to Gran’s relatives in the East, Mia gives an impromptu concert with her cello, and someone brings up the idea that she is Juilliard-worthy. Gran speaks to Professor Christie... (full context)
...Because they are quiet, dark-haired, and serious about art (photography in Kim’s case, and the cello in Mia’s), students and teachers implicitly paired the two girls together. Most likely because of... (full context)
...different experience than playing solo in her bedroom. She also begins to play duets (and cello “duels”) with Simon in the hours after dinner. They engage in friendly competition, and though... (full context)