Proof Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

David Auburn
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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What was Claire trying to do in her conversation with Catherine?

2. What time of day does Catherine's conversation with Robert occur?

3. What has Claire given Catherine to wear to the funeral?

4. What does Claire want Catherine to do?

5. What is Claire doing with the house?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why is Hal sensitive about getting older?

2. Describe how Catherine treats the police when they arrive.

3. Why does Catherine demand to see Hal's backpack? Does she find anything?

4. Why is Hal insistent on going through all of Robert's notebooks?

5. Describe Catherine's reaction when she discovers the notebook.

6. Who paid off the mortgage on the house? How?

7. Why does Hal try to take the notebook?

8. Who is Sophie Germain?

9. What does Catherine give to Hal that morning? Where has Catherine been keeping the object ?

10. Robert was a graphomaniac. What does that mean?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss the significance of students in bookstores for Robert. When does the audience first hear it from Robert? What is the significance of the second time the audience hears Robert talk about students and bookstores? What are the implications for Robert as a teacher?

Essay Topic 2

While Hal is a mathematician and a doctoral candidate, he mishandles almost his entire relationship Catherine.

1.) Describe Hal and Catherine's relationship in chronological order, starting with their first meeting and moving through the end of Act 2.

2.) Does Hal really care for Catherine, or is he only interested in her proof?

3.) Could Hal's attraction to Catherine also be tangled up with his sorrow over Robert's death?

Essay Topic 3

Hal and Robert are each afraid of getting old and losing their edge. They think mathematics is a young man's game, and very quickly a mathematician is past his prime.

1.) Could this idea have anything to do with Robert's illness? He works so hard to match his former genius, but cannot---could this be a contributing factor?

2.) Hal jokes that he has resigned himself to a teaching position. Do you think there is more it? Is Hal disappointed in his own lack of genius?

3.) Describe the lengths mathematicians go to in order to retain their edge, as described by Hal. How competitive is this field?

(see the answer keys)

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