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. How does Catherine know about Sophie Germain?

2. What does Claire fear about Catherine?

3. Why is Catherine upset with Claire at the end of Scene 2?

4. Has Hal found anything coherent in the notebooks as of Act 1, Scene 3?

5. What does Claire make Catherine for breakfast?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. Why does Hal think his papers get turned down for publication?

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

4. Why does Hal try to take the notebook?

5. Why is Claire so worried when Catherine cannot explain the police presence at the house the night before?

6. How does Catherine describe Robert's mathematical processes?

7. How is Claire's personality different from Catherine's?

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

9. How does Hal describe the mathematicians at his conferences?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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?

Essay Topic 2

Claire is a very different character from Catherine, but has a very distinct point of view in the play.

1.) What does Claire do for a living? Is she a mathematical person too?

2.) What was Claire's contribution during Robert's illness? How does this make Catherine somewhat beholden to her?

3.) Describe Claire's personality. How does she differ from Catherine and Robert?

Essay Topic 3

Claire says that mathematician don't think: they just create catastrophes and expect other people to come in and clean them up.

1.) How is this true of Robert? Of Hal? Of Catherine?

2.) Does Claire feel she is cleaning up Hal's mess? Robert's mess?

3.) Does Claire feel that Robert should have been in professional care? How would this have changed events in the play?

(see the answer keys)

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