Tue D (11:45)

Wed F (8:30)

learning goal: Which is the most significant non-mathematical problem in the play, Proof?  How does it affect the play’s minor conflicts?  How does one or more characters solve the problem?

finish reading the play

Consider Hal’s statement, “I’m not saying he did, I’m just saying there’s no proof that you wrote this” and any meaning it might lend to the overall play.

time available to outline a response  to questions in today’s learning goal, and to review the text (take turns with a partner)

submit prospectus* to TURNITIN–on the prescribed template–before next class


*A brief description of what you want to say and why the central idea has meaning for you and might mean something to others, also.  For example, your central idea may explore or explain a struggle that many people have experienced, or your idea may explain how to fit disparate pieces of the play into one coherent interpretation.  What is something you want to say about the play itself or insight(s) it offers?  This prospectus gives you a chance to articulate your idea in brief–to test it for yourself, by explaining it to someone else.  Eventually, you will turn this idea into an essay of approximately a thousand words.

At the risk of stealing your thunder or leading the witness, I offer some questions I am asking myself about the play:


Questions to consider

In this play,

who takes care of whom?

who believes whom, when?

what are the limits/limitations of rational thought?

when is it reasonable to operate with something other than reason?

what are some differences between proof and trust?

do Catherine and Claire prefer/represent two different approaches to problems?

what role does persistence play in any of the characters? do they reveal different kinds or degrees of persistence?

does precision factor into human problems in the same way it does in math problems?

does using reason always work in human relationships? can it backfire sometimes, and if so, when precisely does this happen?

is Catherine giving up or giving in at the end of the play, or does the start of her looking at the notebook with Hal signal a move toward rejuvenation? If she is giving in, to what is she giving in? Does Claire represent an overwhelming force, or set of ideas/beliefs? If Catherine is showing early signs of coming back to health and life, what is injecting this new energy into her and what has stolen that energy from her previously?

is Claire a completely sympathetic character, or does she have significant blind spots or misunderstandings that make it hard to give her the benefit of the doubt?