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 old was Robert when his illness began?

2. What is Hal carrying when he enters?

3. Why does Claire want Catherine to come to New York?

4. Why does Hal say some of the older mathematicians use amphetamines?

5. Is Catherine pleased that Hal kisses her?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What does Robert reveal about Catherine's state of mind in the first scene?

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

4. Does Hal think he will still have the next great mathematical revelation?

5. Why is it strange that Catherine and Robert are speaking in the beginning of the first scene?

6. When did Hal and Catherine first meet?

7. Why does Claire want Catherine to come to New York?

8. Describe Hal's mood the morning after he and Catherine sleep together.

9. Who did Claire want to care for Robert during his illness, and who actually cared for him?

10. Why does Hal try to take the notebook?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

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 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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