English Language; Drama & Speech; Social Etiquette. Est. 1986, Hong Kong


11 March 2016

Proof – Seeing is Believing

The dictionary defines the word “proof” as “evidence sufficient to establish a thing as true, or to produce belief in its truth.” “Proof” is also the name of a 1991 Australian film about trust.

The film concerns the life of Martin, a man who is blind. Through flashbacks, Martin is shown as a child, who distrusts his own mother when she describes to him the garden outside his bedroom window. She tells him that someone is raking leaves, but he can’t hear the sound and decides she is lying to him.

This childhood experience strongly affects the adult Martin as he often thinks that sighted people are taking advantage of his blindness to lie to him, or pity him. He becomes quite a bitter person and spends his days taking photographs of the world around him, and then having various people describe the photos to him. He uses these photographs and the Braille descriptions he stamps on them as “proof” that the world around him really is as others describe it to him. He then shows the photographs to other people to “confirm” the truth of the images.

We can use the idea of the film as the basis for a language exercise.

Gather together a number of colour photographs or pictures from magazines. One person describes one picture or photograph in detail to another person, who is not permitted to see the picture or photograph. The listener, based on the description he or she has just heard, picks the picture from the pile of images. Alternately, the person who hears the description can draw the image as the speaker gives the description. The roles can later be reversed.

You’ll be surprised at how often your description is not sufficiently accurate for the right image to be chosen!