if i stay Essay

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
I had to write this essay for school in the past. I would like some feedback on this for editing reasons, so if you would take a minute after reading this to give me some advice, that would be appreciated.

Submitted: March 08, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: March 08, 2017



“Let’s not forget, it’s you and me v.s the problem. Not YOU v.s me.” - Steve Maraboli. Like a flower, or a wall, a friendship can crumble and die, and if there aren’t acts of love and empathy, will you be able to sustain that friendship; Well…..? ‘if i stay’, by Gayle Foreman, is a heartbreaking novel about a teenage girl named Mia who experiences a severe car crash, and ends up in a coma. Throughout the story, she goes through memories and tells her life story. She goes through a sequence of rough times and hard decisions. However, in the end she must make the hardest decision of all; Live or die? By using character development and communication, with both characters and audience, Gayle Foreman’s ‘if i stay’ shows that through acts of loyalty, empathy and love, you can build your relationships with friends and family.


As stated in the paragraphs above, if i stay shows love, loyalty and empathy through communication and character development. In the beginning of Mia’s story, Gayle Foreman develops her family while explaining how Mia’s parents are into rock music, and her dad was in a band. Then, when Teddy (her brother) goes up to his room and starts banging on the drums, and her parents chuckle, he uses a very smart tool. He makes Mia illustrate her feelings about this scene when she says that, though her parents accepted her, she knows they weren’t too proud to see they had a cellist in the family. It makes you realize that she secretly feels like an outsider in her family, and that makes it easier to care about her. A quote that shows this is “I know it’s silly but I have always wondered if Dad is disappointed that I didn’t become a rock chick.” (Page 6). After all, if you can’t be happy when the character is happy, sad when they are sad, then it most likely isn’t the best story out there. Foreman has her refer to that moment every once in awhile when Mia is going back through her memories. There is real detail in these moments, and that also builds character. When Mia is going through memories, she usually is sad. The moment that is most powerful and that shows her true self is when she finds out Teddy is dead and runs into the hallway, screaming, I can’t do this anymore! I don’t want to do this anymore! After that, she runs to screaming of others and finds herself, almost dead and breathing machines failing. She then realizes that she truly is in charge, and if she wants to die, she can make herself die. This scares her. She starts to see the world in a whole different way, and then realizes that she is not ready to make that decision. If she stays, she will be letting down herself. If she goes, she will be letting down Kim, Adam and her family. Either way, she will be hurting someone.

I would like to pause this for a moment for you to think about this sort of pressure. If you were Mia, how would you decide? Would you do what was best for yourself, or best for others? How would you go through that decision without love and empathy? These acts can literally influence the decision between life and death, and that isn’t something to joke about. Studies show that thinking about how characters feel in a specific moment helps you relate to them and put their needs in your mind. This will help you enjoy the story more. Personally, I believe it. Every book I read, I put myself in the character’s shoes. This is probably the number one rule in if i stay, and I think that, seeing this is a persuasive essay, what a better time to talk about it?

Secondly, Gayle Foreman is an excellent example of a writer who uses communication in his work. In some scenes, it seems like Mia is speaking to you, for example, when she says “Am I dying?” It makes you want to answer her question. He makes you feel involved to the point where it is actually emotional. He is very clever with word choice and description. I have seen things in his work so different that it is almost as if it has never been done before. I loved reading the moment when Adam is  screaming at the nurses to let him in, and then he automatically grows silent when they say one sentence, which is “I’m very sorry, young man, but visits are restricted to immediate family.” Adam has already been developed well, so it easy to feel connection and communication with him. However, somehow, Foreman seems to be able to sneak in communication with Kim when she catches Adam when he is falling to the ground. Throughout the story, Mia explains how Adam and Kim never really got along, so when the author uses this as an example, it is really shocking, something I definitely expect, but it is also heartwarming. They have never seen eye to eye, but they both love Mia, so they get along for her sake. They even end up becoming good friends. I think this also shows change in relationships, as does many scenes in this book. It is impossible to describe this book on an essay that is only a couple of pages, because there is so much to say about it. I think Gayle Foreman uses communication in a very interesting way and it is strange to feel so much connection between other characters, for not many authors are so good at this strategy.

Love, loyalty and empathy all sort of combine into one thing. During the time this happens, “’Please Mia,’ he implores, ‘Don’t make me write a song.’” Adam is visiting Mia in the hospital and he is telling her how much he wants her to stay. This is an act of love because Mia once asked Adam why he never wrote her a song, and he replied, Mia, if you want a song, something really bad has to happen. This also shows love because Adam is almost using a code to tell her that he still loves her and that he wants her to stay. This is one of the most important parts in the book because Adam is the most developed in this part. However, this also connects with loyalty and empathy. Adam is showing loyalty to Mia because he is showing her that he won’t leave her, no matter what state she is in. In a way, it also suggests that if there are acts of loyalty, friendships can be held together. It also shows empathy because Adam is beginning to become desperate for her, and Mia shows empathy towards him, because she decides to stay in the end. She doesn’t only stay for him, but her coming back still enriches their relationship. Mia also shows loyalty by staying with Adam and by making sacrifices, like living without parents and siblings, for her family and for Kim and Willow. Everybody’s happiness came before hers, and that is a very important thing to realize.  

Of course, there are some other times that love and change in relationships is shown. For example, when Adam says, “You know, when the nurse threatened to call security, my first thought was I’ll just call Mia’s parents to fix this.” Adam has just made it to the hospital and tried to find Mia, but the nurse won’t let him in. He gets very upset, and Kim takes him away. This is where they are beginning to see eye to eye. This is also important for change of relationships because it shows that although Kim and Adam don’t get along, they realize they have one thing in common; Mia. They learn that though they are different, they have similarities and their similarities reflect on who they are. They are able to show loyalty and empathy towards Mia, and that is also important in an everyday friendship. It suggests that you don’t need to have everything in common in order to be friends, but you must have loyalty in order to sustain a friendship. Another example of love is when Adam says to Mia “I want you to play me like a cello.” (Page 52). Adam and Mia are already far into their relationship. Adam is using metaphor to tell Mia to love him. This is not only love, but change in relationships because they don’t see each other as just friends anymore. They have already been loyal and empathetic to each other, which also explain my thesis statement. Adam and Mia are excellent examples of change in relationships and love. The author develops them so well that the reader is able to make connections with them. It is important to do this, as I state before.

The problem is, this isn’t always easy to sustain. Sometimes being loyal and empathetic towards others isn’t a simple task, such as when Adam and Mia have their big fight and Mia tells Adam “’You can’t just pop out of my life and expect to pop back in!’” Adam and Mia aren’t being loyal to each other, because Adam is becoming more involved with his band and Mia is trying to get into music school. They are starting to drift away from each other, and this shows lack of loyalty. Mia and Adam also aren’t being empathetic because they can’t see each other’s sides of the story. Mia thinks Adam is spending too much time with the band, and Adam thinks Mia is being too harsh. When Adam tries to leave the conversation, Mia yells, “Is that really how you want to end this?” Adam gets out of the car and they continue their fight. Their relationship almost ends, and that is a very good example of the fact that there can’t be a strong relationship without loyalty and empathy. She also isn’t loyal and empathetic towards herself when she thinks the crash was her fault. This is a delicate topic for her, and she shows that by telling herself, over and over again, that it is her fault her brother didn’t stay alive. That her father’s brain splattered onto the road, or that her mother’s eyes became red. Mia never stops to think about what her rage might do to the version of her currently lying on a hospital bed, barely surviving. Because of this, she suffers more than if she were kind to herself.

By using character development and communication, with both characters and audience, Gayle Forman’s ‘if i stay’ shows that through acts of loyalty, empathy and love, you can build your relationships with friends and family. These elements are used well because it teaches individuals to respect others, be able to see each other’s side of things and, most importantly, how to make a friendship, not break a friendship. After all, “Sometimes you make choices in life and sometimes choices make you,” and if you chose to not be loyal and empathetic, then that choice will someday be your enemy, not your friend.




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