What do the notebooks symbolize in Proof by David Auburn?

The notebooks in Proof by David Auburn symbolize the attempt by Hal to establish a connection with Catherine. When Hal takes one of the notebooks, Catherine thinks he’s stealing it. But in actual fact, he wants to wrap it up and give it to her as a gift.

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Catherine thinks that her father’s notebooks are worthless and that nothing of value can be found within them. They're full of rambling, incoherent nonsense, the product of a once brilliant mind ravaged by years of mental illness. But Hal, a former student of Robert, disagrees with Catherine; he regards the notebooks as full of very valuable information. He’s been working on them, and as well as the...

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on July 20, 2020