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 unhappy with his own work?

2. How old was Robert when his illness began?

3. When does Hal arrive in the scene?

4. What is Catherine's relation to Robert?

5. Is Catherine pleased that Hal kisses her?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

4. Why is Hal sensitive about getting older?

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

6. Describe the general mood at the house after Robert's funeral.

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

8. What has Hal found in the locked drawer, and why is it so important?

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Hal admits at the end of Act 2 not only that the proof is correct, but that he was wrong and should have believe Catherine the first time. How does this admission vindicate her? She proceeds not to explicitly forgive him, but does agree to sit down and explain the proof. Is this perhaps the first time she has ever had the opportunity to talk to anyone about her work? What fear does she reveal to Hal? What are the implications for the future as she begins to explain the proof to Hal?

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 role does time have in the play? How does the playwright use time loosely to share vital information about the characters and plot? Discuss the significance of Catherine's birthday. When does the date appear in the play? How many times?

(see the answer keys)

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