*NOTE: There are questions on two plays on this page. Choose only one question, about one play, to answer.

John Cariani: Almost, Maine
David Auburn: Proof

Directions: You are required to answer one of the main questions, which will appear in bold. This question is due no later than Friday, January 19. Following the bold questions will be other questions which you should read and think about--they may help you answer the main question. However, you are not required to answer these questions in writing.

Please answer the question as thoughtfully as possible, after reading the lecture. Then post your answer to the English 102 Message Board by the deadline.

Your responses to other students' answers are due by midnight on Saturday, January 20.

In order to get the full 20 points, you MUST respond thoughtfully to at least 3 or 4 other people's postings.

We will be using the Canvas Discussion Board for this class. Click on the link below to get to the Canvas portal, sign in, and then click on the box for this class. You will find the "Discussions" link on the left side of the screen:

Discussion Board

Remember: This discussion question is worth a possible 20 points. Late answers will receive 0 points. Points will be assigned according to the thoughtfulness of your answer, not by whether it is "right" or not, since sometimes there is no "right" answer. Just be sure your ideas are supported by the material in the play (see Lecture 1).


John Cariani: Almost, Maine Link

1. What connects all of the stories in this play? Give specific examples for support.
2. Why are the Northern Lights repeated so often? What is their significance?
3. Why begin and end the play with Pete and Ginette?

  1. How can Ginette be getting closer to Pete and farther away at the same time? Why begin the play with this idea?
  2. Why emphasize, in Act 1, Scene 1, "Her Heart," how far Maine is from everything else?
  3. Why is it significant that East is a repairman?
  4. What is the significance of the name of the town: "Almost"?
  5. What is in Glory's bag?
  6. How does this "Her Heart" let you know that magic is going to be taken for granted in this play? Why is that attitude toward magic important in this play?
  7. What is the symbolism of the fact that Glory and East pass the bag conatining her heart back and forth?
  8. How does East appear in "Sad and Glad"?
  9. How does Jimmy's mood change as "Sad and Glad" goes on?
  10. Why is it important that the waitress appears an interrupts them several times in "Sad and Glad"?
  11. What does Jimmy's tattoo say, and why?
  12. What is the waitress's name? Why is Jimmy happy suddenly?
  13. In "This Hurts," what is the man's disability? What are the different meanings of "getting hurt"?
  14. How are "being afraid of something" and "getting hurt" in "This Hurts" related to physical pain and emotional pain?
  15. Why is Steve happy that Marvalyn hit him?
  16. Why is it important that Steve can feel pain at the end of the scene? What does that imply?
  17. In "Getting It Back," why is it important where Gayle and Lendall are standing after she gives him all the red bags, and he gives her the small bag?
  18. How does Marvalyn appear in this scene?
  19. What doe Lendall mean when he says the ring is bigger than it looks?
  20. Why bring Pete back again in the Interlogue?
  21. In "They Fell," what is the competition between Chad and Randy?
  22. How do Lendall, Marvalyn and Eric appear in this scene?
  23. Why does Chad fall down? Why does Randy? What do they realize?
  24. In "Where It Went," why does the shoe drop out of the sky between them at the end?
  25. In "Story of Hope," why is it important that the woman's name is "Hope"?
  26. How does our perception of Daniel change by the end of this scene? How does our perception of Hope change? Why?
  27. In "Seeing the Thing," why is Rhonda reluctant to let Dave into her house?
  28. Why won't Dave just tell Rhonda what the picture is? Why make her figure it out?
  29. How do the other characters appear in "Seeing the Thing?"
  30. Why is it significant that the painting is obviously a heart?

David Auburn, Proof Link

1. What is the significance of the play's title?

2. If you sympathize with Catherine, it is easy to dislike Claire. Is Claire justified in her thinking and actions?

3. Do you think it is necessary for Robert to appear in the play? Or would the play be stronger if his character didn't make an appearance?

  1. What is Catherine's frame of mind as the play opens?
  2. What does Catherine fear she has inherited from her father? How does this constrict her life?
  3. Was Robert happy during his episodes of mental illness?
  4. Why doesn't Catherine want Hal to take any of Robert's notebooks home?
  5. How does Catherine feel about her father at the beginning of the play?
  6. Why doesn't Catherine want Hal around?
  7. Why did Hal try to steal the notebook in Act I, Scene 1?
  8. What does Act I, Scene 2 reveal about the relationship between Catherine and Claire? Claire obviously thinks Catherine is mentally ill. How does she reveal this? Is Catherine mentally ill?
  9. Why does Catherine tell Hal the story of Sophie Germain?
  10. How does the relationship between Hal and Catherine begin to change in Act I, Scene 3?
  11. In Scene 4, Catherine and Claire seem to be getting along better. What does Claire say to change that?
  12. What does Catherine announce at the end of Act I?
  13. What is the function of Act II, Scene 1 in the play? In other words, why did the author include this flashback?
  14. What does this scene reveal about the relationship between Catherine and Robert?
  15. In Act II, Scene 2, does Claire believe that Catherine wrote the proof? Does Hal believe her?
  16. Does Catherine trust Hal with the proof?
  17. Why does Catherine feel so betrayed in this scene? How does she retaliate?
  18. In Act II, Scene 3, why won't Claire let Hal see Catherine?
  19. What is the purpose of Act II, Scene 4?
  20. Why did Hal change his mind about the authorship of the proof?
  21. Why isn't Catherine willing to take Hal's apology? What does she say, in Act II, Scene 5, about proof and trust?
  22. In the last lines of the play, how are Hal's lines about both the proof and their relationship?
  23. What is this play saying about the nature of relationships?