Linguistics Project Topics

A Gender Analysis on Novel Faceless by Amma Darko

A Gender Analysis on Novel Faceless by Amma Darko

A Gender Analysis on Novel Faceless by Amma Darko

Chapter One

Aims and Objectives.

The aim of this study is to discuss gender analysis on novel faceless by Amma Darko.

The specific objectives are to:

  1. analyze the gender aspect on novel faceless by Amma Darko
  2. examine feminism on novel faceless by Amma Darko
  3. describe the detestable environment in faceless by Amma Dako
  4. determine the nature of men – masculinity and male dominance.



Overview of gender analysis on novel faceless by mma Darko

 Faceless (2003), Amma Darko’s gendered text about the tragic experiences of children on the mean streets of Accra, opens with a wrenching rape scene at the Agbogbloshie market. In shocking and lurid details, Darko’s narrative captures the horrid reality females, especially young teenage girls, endures and cannot escape. The almost surrealistic scenery of the rape act translates as vicious and relentless violations of the female body and desperate efforts of very young girls to defend their feminine space. The opening scene marks an attempt to crush the female body. This startling opening narrative signifies Darko’s artistic predilections. Darko will not rein in her voice as the issues confronting her subjects are urgent and alarming. There is no taboo subject in Darko’s artistic disposition. Her unbridled language measures the seriousness of her subject.

Darko’s emergent voice gives a new feminist perspective on the issues of gender and class in contemporary African writing. She explores a recurrent theme of sexual exploitation of the most vulnerable members of society. Throughout her fictional works (Beyond the Horizon, 1995; Housemaid, 1998; Faceless, 2003; and Not Without Flowers, 2007, sexuality becomes an overarching metaphor to examine the values of Ghanaian society. Faceless surpasses the other works in artistic intensity and complexity. In this novel, Darko defines feminine sexuality in terms of a complex trope of transformation from voicelessness to voice and movement beyond facelessness to attain face or personhood.

Darko’s writing about the experience of African women constitutes a clear departure from its expression in early African literature as a symbol for pristine beauty In contrast to Leopold Senghor (Chants d’ombre, 1945- Shadow Songs. Edition du Seuil, 1945; Nocturnes (1961), translated by John 0. Reed and Clive Wake, 1969; Leopold Sédar Senghor- Selected Poems, translated by Reed and Wake, 1964), and Camara Laye’s L’Enfant Noir, 1954-The Dark Child, translated by James Kirkup, Ernest Jones, and Elaine Gottlieb, 1954, Darko dispenses with tendencies to beatify the African woman, as such essentialist constructs of the African woman are paternalistic. Her female characters do not play peripheral roles in narratives about their own experience. Rather, the women in Darko’s fiction are assertive in seizing narrative threads and in weaving stories about their own lives.

In Darko’s novels, women burst through the veil of tradition to establish their voice and identity. Quite similar to her female compatriots, Efua Sutherland (The Marriage ofAnansewa and Edufa, 1967); and Ama Ata Aidoo (Anowa, a play based on a Ghanaian legend, 1970; Our Sister Killjoy, 1977, Darko gives a realistic account of the daily struggle of the Ghanaian woman. However, unlike Aidoo and Sutherland, who maintain propriety and guarded stance, Darko writes graphically and explicitly about sexual matters. Darko sets aside the conventions of traditional African society, which often calls for decorum, to speak about issues that unsettle her audience. She wades into such controversial subjects as AIDS, child rape, prostitution, and polygamy.

Consistent with the general trend in contemporary Ghanaian writing, Darko focuses on the social malaise in Ghana since independence. However, while her predecessors, Ayi Kwei Armah {The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born, 1968) and Kofi Awoonor {This Earth My Brother, 1971), represent in broad terms the frustrations, emptiness, and ennui in Ghana, Darko depicts these same issues at deeply felt individual levels. In another marked distinction, Darko seeks a way out of this prolonged nightmare by rendering women visible and by creating feminine voice and space. She urges women to revive their voice to sustain their lives. The women in Faceless are stigmatized, yet they engage in courageous acts to throw off the yoke of oppression in a male-dominated society. In Faceless, Darko writes with urgency about the predicament of a cadre of very young children who eke out a living on the streets of Accra.



Feminism in Amma Darko’s ‘Faceless’

According to Awuyah (1996), feminism is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. Reading Amma Darko’s ‘Faceless,’ we are presented with the malaises in the African society and the problem an African woman faces, of which abuse and negligence are primary focal points. We cannot deny the fact that African culture gives little value to women regardless that they contribute more in building a home. Darko addresses this problem from a rather tragic perspective – perhaps in a message that there is nothing more tragic than treating a woman like she’s not actively important. Living in a society where women are used as pawns and little regard given to, Dina divorces her husband and starts an NGO organization, MUTE, where she addresses society’s troubling issues more critically. Darko presents a situation where only women work in this organization which supports the claim that woman can do as well as men in any position.



Biography of Amma Dako

Amma Darko was born in the year 1956, in Koforidua, Ghana, and grew up in Accra. She studied in Kumasi, where she received her diploma in 1980. Then she worked for the Science and Technology Center in Kumasi. During the 1980s, she lived and worked for some time in Germany. Afterwards, she travelled to Germany where she stayed from 1981 until 1987 and wrote her first novel, Beyond the Horizon which was published in German. Faceless is her third novel. Amma  enjoys research and spends a lot of time with interviews and in archives. In 2008, she received the most important literary prize in her country, the Ghana Book Award. Faceless has been selected for the official literature list of the West African Examination Council for Senior Secondary Schools. She also has the book Not without flowers to her credit. Her work has been discussed in several academic journals.




This study was conducted to discuss gender analysis on novel faceless by Amma Darko. The study sought to examine feminism on novel faceless by Amma Darko, describe the detestable environment in faceless by Amma Dako and also determine the nature of men – masculinity and male dominance. It has been found out that much of attention has been based on the assumption (and hope) that increasing married women’s economic activity levels would bring about a change in the traditional distribution of domestic labor. Regarding the nature of men – masculinity and male dominance, boys are taught by their mothers and shown by their fathers how to be a man and they are excused from performing ‘female’ tasks around the house. Though generally, African society is patriarchal, yet where matrilineal nature is found such as in a community, there were no observable differences in the expectations of male responsibility. On the aspects of culture and how they cause violence on women, in a patriarchal society, fathers hold authority over women, children, and property. Patriarchy therefore implies male rule and privilege, and entails female subordination. Therefore, cultural context male and female behaviour patterns are fixed by norms and anyone who tries to break the rules can meet with serious problems in a community in which the ruling group produces images and conceptions of the others to legitimize the status quo.


There is no doubt that this trend negates the collective interests of human fundamental rights and the rights of equality, freedom and personal dignity of women in society. This attitude also falls short of all necessary dictates of the principles of the much cherished Affirmative Action and the Beijing Conventions on the inalienable rights of women. This tradition also poses very serious threats on Nigeria’s path to democratic consolidation and sustainable development in this country. In order to redress gender inequality in Nigeria, emphasises needed to challenge the influences of patriarchy, and promote women’s rights in domestic production, paid employment, culture and religion, sexuality, male violence and governance. Domestic production: challenge patriarchal division of labour in the home; advocate for equitable distribution of housework; promoting fatherhood responsibilities; and include of domestic work in GDP, promote the sexual and reproductive rights of women; challenge practices that predispose women to sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS; etc, combat violence against women; and promote new conceptualisations of masculinity and femininity and challenge the patriarchal arrangement of the state and violence in the state, as well as neoliberalism and fundamentalism; promote women-friendly constitutions and legal frameworks, and budget redistribution in favour of women; support the affirmative action of women and other marginalised groups; etc.


Based on the findings of this study, the following are recommended;

There should be sensitization programs and need for gender education, enlightenment, awareness and consciousness raising among men and must target all age groups irrespective of social class. There should be re-orientation of men’s mind set via gender education as this could greatly enhanced women empowerment. There should be seminars, training and workshops for men as well as introduction of gender studies in the primary, secondary and tertiary institutions. Also, sensitization and education must continue to raise women’s consciousness about their emancipatory becoming. There should be women’s rights to freedom of choice in marriage and their economic status should be recognized and respected by both men and women.


  • Abiodun, Abadom. (2004). “Has Prince Charles Found His Spiritual Home on a Greek Rock?: Visits Spark Claims of Royal’s Commitment to Orthodoxy”. The Guardian, 32-113
  • Acholonu, C. (2013). Motherism: An Afrocentric Alternative to Feminism. Abuja: Afa Publications, 45-387
  • Adams, Gerald (2010). Attractiveness through the Ages: Implications of Facial Attractiveness Over the Life Cycle. In Graham, Jean Ann and Kligman, Albert M. (eds) The Psychology of Cosmetic Treatments. New York: Praeger, pp. 133-151.
  • Adamu L. Fatima.  “My wife’s tongue delivers more punishing blows than Muhammed Ali’s fist: bargaining power in Nigerian Hausa society” in Anne, boran and Bernadette Murphy (eds.) Gender in flux Issues in the Social sciences Series, 2004 pp 201-211
  • Adebowale, Adefolake. “Stick With Your Job If It Fits”. The Weekend Australian, 2012: 12-69
  • Adeniran, A. “A Non-Dependent Framework for Development”, Thisday, Wednesday, August 23, 2006, Pp. 45-223.
  • Adeoti, G. and Elegbeleye, S. (2005).Nigerian Literary Drama and Satiric Mode as Exemplified in WoleSoyinka’s Works.InPerspective on Language and Literature, Olateju M and Oyeleye L. ed. Intec Printers Ltd, Ibadan, p. 303 – 321.
  • Adeyemi, Martha. “Sex and Social Justice”. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005: 19-56
  • Adichie, C. (2006). Half of A Yellow Sand. New York: Anchor Books.
  • Adrienne, R. (2008).An Atlas of the Difficult Word. New York: Norton, 19-91.
  • Agbalajobi, D.T. ‘Women’s participation and the political process in Nigeria: Problems and prospects’, African Journal of Political Science and International Relations Vol. 4(2), pp. 075-082, February 2010.
WeCreativez WhatsApp Support
Our customer support team is here to answer your questions. Ask us anything!