If I Stay

Denny Hall (Dad) Character Analysis

Denny is Mia’s Dad. He and Mia’s Mom married when they were twenty-three, and had Mia soon after. Teddy was born ten years later. Denny is a middle-school English teacher—though he played guitar and wrote songs for a popular local band for many years, he quit when Teddy was born in order to spend more time with his family. Though Denny’s friend Henry becomes angry with him for leaving the band, he maintains that his family will always come first, and that he was making an obvious choice, not a sacrifice. Once Dad and Mom recognize that Mia has a true gift with the cello, he works to support her passion, and finds her a teacher to study with, his friend Professor Christie.

Denny Hall (Dad) Quotes in If I Stay

The If I Stay quotes below are all either spoken by Denny Hall (Dad) or refer to Denny Hall (Dad). 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:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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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:
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.
9:23 AM Quotes

I was still scared, but it was somehow comforting to think that maybe stage fright was a trait I’d inherited from Dad; I wasn’t just some foundling, after all.

Related Characters: Mia Hall (speaker), Denny Hall (Dad)
Page Number: 26
Explanation and Analysis:
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.
10:40 PM Quotes

“In my ideal scenario, my bighearted pushover husband and I die quickly and simultaneously when we’re ninety-two years old…Mia plays at our funeral. If, that is, we can tear her away from the New York Philharmonic.”

Related Characters: Kat Hall (Mom) (speaker), Mia Hall, Denny Hall (Dad)
Page Number: 173
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Dad was wrong. It’s true you might not get to control your funeral, but sometimes you do get to choose your death.

Related Characters: Mia Hall (speaker), Denny Hall (Dad)
Page Number: 173
Explanation and Analysis:
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.
2:48 AM Quotes

“I’d played that part of my life out. It was time. I didn’t even think twice about it, in spite of what Gramps or Henry might think. Sometimes you make choices in life and sometimes choices make you. Does that make any sense?”

Related Characters: Denny Hall (Dad) (speaker), Gramps, Henry
Page Number: 192
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Denny Hall (Dad) Character Timeline in If I Stay

The timeline below shows where the character Denny Hall (Dad) appears in If I Stay. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
7:09 AM
Love, Family, and Relationships Theme Icon
...that school is closed, Mia’s Mom, a travel agent, decides to stay home with Mia’s Dad, a middle school English teacher, and Mia’s eight-year-old brother, Teddy. (full context)
Sacrifice and Choice Theme Icon
Music and Harmony Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Relationships Theme Icon
As the family eats breakfast together, Mia’s Dad points out a photo of Mia’s boyfriend, Adam, in the newspaper. Adam is a member... (full context)
Music and Harmony Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Relationships Theme Icon
...of classical music and Mia’s “marathon” practice sessions. Then a crash sounds—it’s Teddy playing on Dad’s old drum set, which makes Mia wonder if her mother and father, who used to... (full context)
Sacrifice and Choice Theme Icon
Music and Harmony Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Relationships Theme Icon
Mia’s Dad suggests that the family take a drive to visit Willow and Henry, married friends of... (full context)
8:17 AM
Sacrifice and Choice Theme Icon
Music and Harmony Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Relationships Theme Icon
The family piles into their old Buick, and Mia’s Dad begins to drive them to Willow and Henry’s house. Though Dad used to be notorious... (full context)
Sacrifice and Choice Theme Icon
Music and Harmony Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Relationships Theme Icon
...usual, the family debates as to what to put on the radio: Mom wants NPR, Dad wants Frank Sinatra, Teddy wants Spongebob SquarePants, and Mia wants to listen to classical music.... (full context)
Music and Harmony Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Relationships Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
...and finds herself without a scrape. She looks around for her family, and finds her father, bloody and dead, on the pavement. She finds her mother dead as well, completely white... (full context)
9:23 AM
Music and Harmony Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Relationships Theme Icon
...around age fourteen, Mia’s studies were taken over by Professor Christie, a friend of Mia’s Dad who was surprised by the level of Mia’s talent, given her age. (full context)
Music and Harmony Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Relationships Theme Icon
...age eight. Terrified of the thought of playing onstage, Mia runs away before her performance. Dad finds her and tells her that he, too, used to get terrible stage fright before... (full context)
12:19 PM
Music and Harmony Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
...time, and the CD is switched to jazz, a genre that reminds Mia of her Dad, who once declared jazz as “punk for old people.” (full context)
Love, Family, and Relationships Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
...unsuccessful. She follows a nurse out of the operating room, and discovers her grandparents (her father’s parents) in a waiting area. Her grandmother, Gran, is chatting away, a hallmark of her... (full context)
3:47 PM
Music and Harmony Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Relationships Theme Icon
...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 well. One night in Mia’s bedroom... (full context)
8:12 PM
Sacrifice and Choice Theme Icon
Music and Harmony Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Relationships Theme Icon
...began to play the cello, she noticed how different it was from the band her Dad played in. While he was always playing with other people, she could only practice solo... (full context)
9:06 PM
Sacrifice and Choice Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Relationships Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
Mia recalls that when Willow began to date Henry, her Dad’s band-mate, Henry was a “total drunk playboy,” but that Willow whipped him into shape, and... (full context)
10:40 PM
Sacrifice and Choice Theme Icon
Music and Harmony Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Relationships Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
...that the family ended the funeral service with a rendition of “Wind Beneath My Wings.” Dad reasons that it was his family’s way of coping with their son’s death, and that... (full context)
Sacrifice and Choice Theme Icon
Music and Harmony Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Relationships Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
Mia muses that to some extent, her Dad was wrong—in Mia’s scenario, she does seem to be able to control whether she lives... (full context)
2:48 AM
Sacrifice and Choice Theme Icon
Music and Harmony Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Relationships Theme Icon
In a flashback, Mia recalls that prior to Teddy’s birth, Dad’s band was fairly popular in college towns across the Northwest, and, oddly, Japan. However, once... (full context)
Sacrifice and Choice Theme Icon
Music and Harmony Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Relationships Theme Icon
When Teddy is a few months old, Dad announces he is leaving the band, even though Mom says she’s okay with him continuing... (full context)
Sacrifice and Choice Theme Icon
Music and Harmony Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Relationships Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
Meanwhile, Gramps is upset at Dad’s transformation into a more parental figure for reasons Mia can’t figure out. Gramps finally explains... (full context)
4:57 AM
Sacrifice and Choice Theme Icon
Music and Harmony Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Relationships Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
Mia mulls over the lyrics her father wrote years ago, meditating in particular on the lyric “I’m not choosing. But I’m running... (full context)
5:42 AM
Sacrifice and Choice Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Relationships Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
...when she had an overpowering sense of déjà vu, such as when her Mom or Dad told her a story from their childhoods and she felt as if she had lived... (full context)
Sacrifice and Choice Theme Icon
Music and Harmony Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Relationships Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
...food on the grill, cold watermelon, and wild blackberry pies. Mia feels especially happy when Dad, Henry, and Adam jam on their guitars and sing. They invite her to join on... (full context)
7:16 AM
Sacrifice and Choice Theme Icon
Music and Harmony Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Relationships Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
...cope with the pain of moving forward in her life. She pictures Teddy, Mom and Dad, and her cello, and squeezes Adam’s hand. Adam’s grip on her hand tightens, and he... (full context)