DISCUSSION – Personal Statement Example
Analyzing the Theme of "Proof" I think the begining of the play is rather sad. As soon as the reader learns that the person Catherine is talking to is actually dead the theme of isolation takes over. Through out the play I could feel Catherine’s desperation to be known as somebody. The ending of the play for me was perfect as it ends with a new begining for Catherine.
While the theme of trust is prevalent in the play, another theme dominating it is that of isolation and mental instability. Catherine, an intelligent girl of twenty-five, gives up college to care for her father, Robert, who is mentally ill. Though she spends most of her time with him, there seems to be a communication gap between them. Catherine chooses to isolate herself from everyone so she can take care of her father and the only thing she wants in return is his love (LeRoux, 2010).
The same kind of desperation can be seen in the short story The Rocking Horse Winner by D. H. Lawrence. Paul is desperate to be loved by his mother and is always trying to make her happy. His mother, however, is too caught up in the material world to notice him. Just like Robert, who is always too busy with his mathematical work, fails to love his daughter Catherine.
Responses Author Date & Time Mary 18 May 10 5:19 PM MST
> The central idea of “Proof” is the struggle of accepting yourself and
> most of all, trust. Throughout, the story Catherine struggles wanting
> to become someone and instead, she becomes a caretaker; a role that
> she did not want, but accepted. She sacrifices her own happiness, out
> of necessity. She demonstrates this behavior by relating to her
> father’s mathematical ability and works on equations. Month after
> month, Catherine is waiting for her father’s love but because of his
> mental instability he cannot love himself or his daughters. This is a
> struggle for Catherine and she begins to isolate herself disconnecting
> from her sibling and Hal. Therefore, because Hal finally believes her
> this proved to Catherine the validation she needed; acceptance that
> she was somebody. She was her father’s daughter; an individual who
> could belong and be recognized for her math talents.
> The poem, “I’m Nobody” is similar to “Proof” because both isolated
> themselves from people and are afraid to trust. The line in “I’m
> Nobody” mentions, “How public-like a Frog-“ (6) for me this term
> exhibits to be ugly out in society and therefore, insecure around
> Another similarity to the play “Proof” is the book, “The Joy Luck
> Club” by Amy Tan. Generations of women who are isolated and
> disconnected from their immediate families. The main character, June
> struggles wanting to be loved and accepted and her basic emotional
> needs met. Her mother, Suyuan Woo cannot connect with her daughter,
> June because of culture barriers as well as, trust. Both of these
> stories have characters who experience a need for acceptance and a
> struggle to be validated.
I agree that trust is one of the main themes in the play. But I think Catherine chooses to bacome a care taker and is not forced into it. She does, however, seem to be struggling throughout the play to become someone and to convince Hal that Proof is her work. Before Hal, she was struggling to get her fathers love which she never got due to his mental instability. Catherin responds to this by socially isolating herself.
Proof is similar to Emily Dickenson’s I’m Nobody because of their common theme of isolationism. Catherine, like Emily, feels like nobody because she has never done anything other than taking care of her father for nine years. Both avoid interaction with the outside world and find social situations very uncomfortable. Both have intentionally isolated themselves.
Jason 19 May 10 1:21 AM MST
> “Proof” was the most intriguing play that I could personally compare
> to my own life. The play was long and sometimes hard to follow but was
> by far the best read to date for this class. I viewed the theme as to
> just what the title says “Proof”. The play consists of all sorts of
> conflicts, dialogue that was very strong with Hal and how from the
> beginning he wanted “Proof”. I don’t know if this is possible but I
> think the protagonist character was both Catherine along with her
> memory of the character Robert?
> The short story “I Stand Here Ironing” can relate to this play. In
> some sense you can relate Emily to Catharine, if you look at it from
> outside the box both character appeared to have been neglected by a
> parent do to mental illness? Although Nora was not “crazy” like Robert
> she still was mentally ill. Both characters Emily from “I Stand Here
> Ironing” and Catharine “Proof” also suffered suppression, emotional
> cruelty and an intense sibling rivalry from a sister. Both characters
> also appeared to suffer from depression and also lashed out with anger
> or defiance to express their inner feelings.
> The outside class material that I can relate to the play “Proof” is
> the 2001 movie “A Beautiful Mind” by Ron Howard. This movie also
> explores the life of a mathematical genius who also became “crazy” (I
> hate to use the word crazy because there can be so many definitions
> but the play uses the word so that is why I am using it). From this
> movie you can relate John Nash a non-fictional character to that of
> Robert a fictional character. You can also relate the struggles that
> John Nash’s wife had to deal with when taking care of a mentally ill
> person as to those Catherine had with her father Robert. Great movie
> guys I recommend you see it.
> Question: Is there any mention of what happened to the mother in the
> play “proof”?
I agree that the play is similar to the short story I Stand Here Ironing by Tillie Olsen. Both have a common theme of mental instability. Emily, just like Catherine, is neglected by her mother because of her mental illness. Both are continuously struggling to please their parents and fill the emotional gap that they are facing. Both supressed their feelings and were depressed.
Outside class material:
The play is also similar to the short story The Rocking Horse Winner by D. H. Lawrence. Paul is desperate to be loved by his mother and is always trying to make her happy. His mother, however, is too caught up in the material world to notice him. Just like Robert, who is always too busy with his mathematical work, fails to love his daughter Catherine.