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  • Background of the Study

The concept of literature has been viewed by different authorities. Literature as defined by Wikipedia refers to written works especially those considered of superior or lasting artistic merit. The Macmillan English dictionary defines it as stories, play and poems, especially those that are considered to have value as art and not just entertainment. A broader explanation of literature according to Basnel & Mounfold in Lindsay (2012, p1) says that literacy text are products that neglect different aspects of the society. They are cultural documents that neglect and offer deeper understanding of country/countries. Literature refers to works of a creative imagination including works of poetry, drama, fiction and non-fiction. Ezeifeka (2010) opines that literature is a verval art that can manifest in either oral or written forms. He went further to say literature as art is a creation of the individual in the society and the expression of the individual experience in life. Literature as well treats themes that are the concern of sociology, psychology, economics, archeology astronomy, physics and meta physics.

The genres of literature is seen as that form of writing which man creates with the help of language in order to enjoy his exploration of experience of life. Its basic characteristic is its functional quality. It can also be seen as the various divisions in which literature can best be analysed, appreciated and understood. Another word for genre is type or kind. Genres of literature include drama, poetry and prose. For the sake of this research , the researcher will be focusing on prose.

A prose is said to be an ordinary non-metrical form of writing or spoken language. It is a long narrative with a wide range of characters, events and experiences. It is a kind of writing that is not poetic. A writer of prose is called a novelist. A long narrative prose in which the characters are usually imaginary is known as a novel. Examples of prose are Joys of motherhood by Buchi Emeheta, Things Fall Apart by Chienua Achebe.

The novels faceless by Amma Darko and the Stillborn by Zuynab Alkali are also good examples of prose that the researcher intends to analyse or study. Like other genres of literature, prose aims at performing some important function in the lives of people. Prose helps a lot in the development of language. It must be noted that one of the major ways by which one can acquire appropriate use of any language is by reading books written in such language. Prose creates undiluted awareness of one’s society and that of others. It teaches moral lessons, corrects wrong doing and recognizes achievement and achievers. It assists a lot in the process of projecting the customs and tradition of the people. It also entertains, educates and instructs readers (Bamidele, 2003).

A general look at the impact of teaching and learning of literature brings us to reasons why it is necessary in the classroom. Literature is seen as authentic materials that are capable of exposing learners/students to the source of unmodified language in the classroom, since the skills they acquire the language of literature can be useful to them outside the classroom. Literature, which is often rich in multiple layers of meaning, can be effectively used for discussion and sharing of feelings or ideas, encourage interaction, and so on. Literature is an art of communication both within and outside the classroom by paying attention to formal structures to ensure that its language is more marked and more observing of attention than the language of other communication (Chinwe, 2016).

Literature engages a reader in grasping deeper moral perception or engages him in greater moral contemplation. Literature functions in many ways. One of the basic functions of literature is that it provides enjoyment. It also teaches moral sensibilities and ensures free and frank discussion on the sensibilities they embody. Besides these, literature assists in instilling good moral upbringing and training of students or readers an esthetic sensibility. In a nutshell, literature equips human beings in acquiring more language, proficiency competence and it provides him with a wealth of knowledge on his culture as it gives him comprehensive view of life from the material he reads (Kofa, 2010).

The high status that literature holds in many cultures and countries makes students feel a real sense of achievement when they understand a piece of highly respected literature especially such that has awarded its writer noble prizes. Literature aims at liberating humans in general, without literature we lack insight and understanding of the human nature. Everyone should therefore study it (Lindsay, 2012, p.1)).

Students and scholars of African literature have often wondered about the apparent absence of any major female Ghanian writers following the remarkable pioneering work of Efua, T. Sutherland and Ama Ata Aidoo  can now rest assured that a worthy successor has emerged in the person of Amma Darko. Amma Darko is a known Ghanian writer and researcher. She authored many books including Beyond the Horizon and the Housemaid. Educationist considered faceless relevant for learning in secondary schools, that is why it was selected among the literature books/novels for WAEC.

Amma Darko in her novel titled Faceless presents in a very graphic details mind-boggling sociological issues of child neglect, child abuse, defilement of girls, gender, child trafficking, child labour, single parenting, reproductive health risks, violence and failed governance through the grim experience of street children. She tells the world that every street child most especially the girl-child has a story, which are rarely told. Some factors are responsible for these story and this factors seriously affects the girl-child psychologically, emotionally and educationally. This factors include discrimination against women/girl-child, parental neglect, streetism, superstition, failed Governance etc.

Zaynab alkali on the other hand is a multiple award winner, author and women’s right advocate, who received the Nigerian women distinction award on the occasion Nigeria’s  golden Jubilee. Her books (novels) and other writings, which examine the role of female s within a patriarchal society have been translated into German, French, Japanese and Arabic. Zaynab Alkali was born in Garkida, Adamawa state. She attended queen Elizabeth secondary school, Ilorin and studied Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria where she studied English as well as African literature (1980). She obtained a doctorate in African literature from Bayero University Kano (1995). She became a full professor of African literature and creative writing in 2004. Zainab Alkali is a novelist and one of her novels titled “The stillborn” marks her debut as novelist. The novel reflects women/girl-child throughout Nigeria and Africa should be allowed and encourage to be educated to fulfill their potentials so that they will make effective contribution to nation building.

The state of the characteristics of the Nigerian girls in secondary schools has been confronted with so many setback looking at the history of girl-child education which can be trace from the time western education mission in 1840s. the major features of this education was that right from its introduction the education was slow compared with that of boys which was brought at the same time. This is because girl-child are made to believe that education most especially science, Technology and Mathematics field are male activities that do not welcome women’s/girl-child participation. Also, a belief that has passed down from generation to generation by teachers, peers, parents and the society generally through subtle an unintended messages to females is that males excel or do better than females in schools. This discourage the girl-child participation in most of the learning activities in schools not only at the secondary school level but at all the tiers of education (Clarkson, 2004).

Because of such beliefs by teachers, parents, peers society and cultural expectations, some parents choose to even marry-off the girl-child in early age. Such beliefs also make parents and the society to even use the young girls as food hawkers in the street which gets them exposed to rape and other societal ills. Clarkson (2004) advocated that, psychological there is low enrolment of girl in education particularly in the science education due to a combination of traditional learning theory and observational learning theory called social learning theory. This theory asserts that from the society; boys and girls are cued and reinforced to adapt male and female typed behavior respectively. According to Cobb (2002) socially, the society, especially the parents and teachers, do not provide the girl-child with experience necessary for spatial learning and skills acquisition require in education.

Opportunity to learn is another reason why the girl-child education suffered a setback in Nigerian secondary schools. According to Macobby (2006) girl acquire less special and perceptual analytical ability and field independent cognitive style because they have little or limited opportunity to learn and manipulate objects. This view has it that since girls are subjected to severe stimulus, deprivation,, they find it difficult to make necessary perceptual discrimination. Girls perceive more globally, field dependent cognitive styles and hence their low engagement in educational task requiring skills (Kagan, 2005).

In support of the above statement Cobb (2002) stresses that in the classroom interaction as an atmosphere for effective learning, the teacher call on boys often than the girls, wait longer for boys answers and engage boys when they call out while reprimanding and reminding them to raise their hands. Typically, boys usually attribute their successes to their own intelligence and their failure to insufficient effort, but the girls believe that their successes are attributable to luck and their failure to inabilities. Boys encourage to take risk and solve problems, teachers often finish task for girls causing them to practice learned “helplessness”. Females/girls need to construct their own knowledge take task and investigate solutions, if experiences are not positive, the girls shy away.

It is in the above light and manner that led to the inclusion of the recommendations of the national curriculum conference in the National policy on education (NPE) in 1977 which spelt out that:

  1. diversification of curricula should be made to meet the need of both men and women;
  2. equal access to the same type of formal education at all level should also be made to citizens irrespective of sex.
  • There should be remedial programme through evening classes for girls.
  1. There should be social attitude regarding the value of women/girl-child education and must be change positively.
  2. There should be law that will grant Nigeria girl-child/women freedom to participate as equal partners in nation building.
  3. Co-educational institution should be preferred at all level.

The development above gives room/opportunity for more young girls to acquire knowledge and all the necessary skills that would make them to become competent members of the society and contribute their own quota in nation building and that the two (2) novels under study “Faceless” by Amma Darko and “The stillborn” by Zaynab Alkali has positive impact in shaping the character of the Nigerian girl-child.

  • Statement of the problem

It is quit unfortunate that despite all the importance attached to the teaching and learning of literature (prose) there are problems in the process and one of the major problem of teaching literature according to Ogunnaike (2002) is poor planning, poor pedagogy and poor presentation in the classroom, lack of adequate and qualified teachers, over-crowded classrooms, inadequate instructional materials, irrelevant textbooks etc. This he affirms has affected students attitude towards the subject resulting in poor performance. In a related Vein Nwodo (2011) asserts that despite the fact that the study of literature most particularly prose offers learners/students the opportunity to be proficient in English, there is no dynamic and functional policy on ground. She argues that a well-planned literature curriculum will enhance candidates performance and raise the standard of education.

Another problem is that of method, despite the fact that there are specific methods of teaching prose most teachers use whatever method that is available at their disposal instead of the stylistics method that is widely approved as the most appropriate method to be use in teaching of prose. Stylistics is the art of using linguistic rules and regulations to characterize a literary text (otadosum 2003:217). However, the stylistic method has hardly been used especially in secondary schools in the teaching of literature, not to talk of prose as a genre of literature. Perhaps it is high time that this method should strictly be put in used in the teaching of prose at the secondary schools.

It is thus against this background that the study intend to analyze “The Impact of Female Novels In sharping The character of The Nigerian Girl-child with reference to  “Faceless” and “The Stillborn” Novels By Amma Darko and Zaynab Alkali as female novel writers who are socially conscience writers. Their preoccupation in their texts is to raise the consciousness of their readers, particularly the women Folk, regarding the need for educational attainment.

  • Objectives of the Study
  1. to examine the impact of prose content in shaping the character of the girl-child.
  2. To find out the impact of prose on themes that sharpens the character of the girl-child.
  • To discover the impact of prose in using characterization to shape the character of the firl-child.
    • Research Questions
  1. what are the impact of prose content in shaping the character of the girl-child?
  2. What are the impact of prose on themes that sharpens the character of the girl-child?
  • What are the impact of prose in using characterization to shape the character of the girl-child?
    • Significance of the Study

The study will be relevant to students most especially the girl-child, teachers, curriculum planners and innovators, Researchers, scholars and book writers.

The study could serve as source of further knowledge in solving problems that might be militating against the effective teaching and learning of prose as well as improve the students vocabulary and reading ability.

The research findings/outcomes would assist to find out the impact of novels written by women in shaping the character of the girl-child.

  • Scope and Limitation of the Study

the scope of this study is to investigate on “The Impact of Female Novels in shaping The character of The Nigerian girl-child. To avoid a broad and a cumbersome work, the study is restricted or limited to female novels writers with references to two studied books “Faceless by Amma Darko and The Stillborn by Zaynab Alkali as the two books are mostly prose the study intends to focus on the teaching and learning of prose in some selected secondary schools in Gindiri District of Mangy Local Government Area of Plateau State. The selected secondary schools include:

  1. government secondary school Bwalbwang Gindiri
  2. Government Secondary School Chanso
  • Sunnih Model High School Gindiri
  1. Pyem community secondary school gindiri
  2. Manchet Comprehensive Secondary School Kasuwan/Ali.
    • Operational Definition of Terms

Terms are defined in this context as they are used in the study.

  1. Impact: the powerful effect that something has on somebody or something.
  2. Female: this refers to9 being a woman or girl. The sex that are capable of bearing children when met with the opposite sex (male).
  • Novel: this refers to a story long enough to fill a complete book in which the characters and events are usually imaginary.
  1. Novelist: this refers to a person who writes novels.
  2. Shaping: this refers to develop and become more complete or organized to improves ones behavior especially in a good way.
  3. Character: this refers to all the qualities and features that makes a person or group of person and place different from other.
  • Girl-child: a young woman who is not yet an adult. A person who is strongly influenced by the ideas and attitudes of a particular time or person.


  • Format: ms-word (doc)
  • Chapter 1 to 5
  • With abstract reference and questionnaire
  • Preview Table of contents, abstract and chapter 1 below

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