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. Why is Hal at the house in Scene 1?

2. Who says they wrote the proof?

3. Who thinks Robert should have been put in professional care?

4. Who was Claire drinking with the night before?

5. Why did Robert keep requesting that Catherine check out library books for him?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What do Robert and Catherine decide to do for dinner?

3. What is Hal's excuse for kissing Catherine?

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

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

6. Is Catherine happy about moving?

7. What is Robert examining in the proof?

8. When did Catherine write the proof?

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

10. Why has Hal come to the house?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Hal feels some sort of a connection to Catherine. When she is catatonic in bed, he insists to Claire that Catherine may talk to him.

1.) What events my have led Hal to feel more connected with Catherine?

2.) Could he feel guilty and somewhat responsible for her breakdown?

3.) Is Hal a victim of circumstance, or could he have handled the situation more graciously?

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

What are Catherine's arguments that she wrote the proof? What are Claire's arguments that she did not write the proof? Why is Hal skeptical? What is Catherine's explanation for her advanced understand of mathematics? At the climax of Act 1, Catherine tries to destroy the proof, though it is of extreme mathematical importance and she has poured her heart and soul into it. Why, at that point, is her only option to destroy it? Why does Claire stop her?

(see the answer keys)

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