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Title page    -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        i

Certification         -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        ii

Dedication -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        iii

Acknowledgements        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        iv

Table of Contents -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        v

Abstract      -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        vii


1.1     Background of the Study        -        -        -        -        -        -        1

1.2     Statement of the Problem        -        -        -        -        -        -        5

1 3     Purpose of the Study     -        -        -        -        -        -        6

1 4     Scope and Limitation of the Study   -        -        -        -        6

1.5     Significance of the Study         -        -        -        -        -        -        7

1.6     Research Methodology  -        -        -        -        -        -        7

1.7     Organisation of the work        -        -        -        -        -        -        7

1.8     Definition of Terms       -        -        -        -        -        -        8


2.1     Film Studies: An Overview     -        -        -        -        -        10

2.2     Film History in Nigeria -        -        -        -        -        -        13

2.3     The Girl Child’s Identity: An African Perspective         -        -        18

2.4     The Girl Child and the Challenges of Identity in Africa -        21


3.1     Synopsis of the Film Dry        -        -        -        -        -        -        28

3.2     Thematic Structure of the Film         -        -        -        -        -        32

3.3     Synopsis of the Film Child not Bride         -        -        -        -        38

3.4     Thematic Structure of the Film -       -        -        -        -        41


4.1     Girl Child Identity in Dry        -        -        -        -        -        -        44

4.2     Girl Child Identity in Child not Bride         -        -        -        -        48

4.3     Comparative View of the Girl Child Identity in the Films       -        51


5.1     Summary -  -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        54

5.2     Conclusion -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        54

5.3     Recommendations         -        -        -        -        -        -        -        55

Works Cited


The girl child is faced with diverse challenges that pose a serious threat to her existence and identity. Issues ranging from genital mutilation, to being made to play second fiddle role to the men folk and other oppressive tendencies form areas of concern for the feminist ideologist. This project attempts therefore, at assessing the challenges that threaten the identity of the girl child. In doing so, this project provides an overview of the challenges of the girl child and the part her parents, the government and the society play. This project studies the films Dry by Stephanie Linus and Child not Bride by Emeka Nwabunze to unearth the salient challenges of the girl child addressed in the films. The research methodologies employed for this project include; films, library search and the internet. This project concludes that through the reflection of the Society in films, influence the consciousness of the people bringing salience to certain issues in the society- the issue of the girl child's identity and that girl child if educated, loved, supported and encouraged can be a tool for national development. This project recommends that the government, film producers and directors, parents should help build the identity of the girl child positively because building the girl child is tantamount to building the nation.


1.1     Background of the study      

Identity is the totality of someone’s image in the society. Everyone has it; a community has it, a nation has it, a country has it and so does the girl child. The way someone’s identity is built may keep the person in a permanent shame or glory, and the totality of the people’s identity is the summary of the nation’s identity. The images a person puts up on different occasions sum up to make for what they are. It filters through all social processes everyman finds himself doing. According to Williams “Identities are seen as variable and as constituted through a relational social process” (68). Santrock also suggests that “identity formation is enhanced by family relationships that are both individuated, encouraging adolescents to develop their own points of view, and connected, providing a secure base from which to explore the social world" (155). By the direction Santrock suggests, the characters identities are observed and shaped within family relationship and its significant social identification. This shows that the identity of a child changes and this change is influenced by the people around. Parents and guardians should be able to encourage the child positively because as the child grows, those things will form how the child perceives himself or herself. Boeck and Honwana clarify identity by generalizing that:

 Children and youth have been routinely portrayed as innocent and vulnerable, in need of adult protection…. Children and youth are often perceived through opposition to adulthood and as ‘people in the process of becoming rather than being (3).

 When the identity of an individual is intentionally jeopardised through abuse and name calling making that person feel inferior and worthless, it is most likely that the total being or personality of such individual would be restructured. By this, it means, the encounter has the potency of disabling or reconfiguring the individual’s desirable intents, belief system, mental and psychic patterns, and as such causing major damage(s) and change(s) in behavioural exhibitions. Hence, the identity of every individual is an integral part of the several fragments that make up a total being. This may have made the question of identity to form a basis of argument in film studies all over the world. It is so because film is a major form of cultural expression and the study of film is a study of culture and its interpretation.

In the study of the selected films Dry and Child not Bride, it will be seen that the girl child’s identity continually arouse both anger and confusion on how she is raised, nurtured and solemnly disposed of in the name of marriage at an early age. The girl child in some communities is used as collateral for a man’s show of goodwill to the family. She is denied her choiced dream and mind set over social activities and the way these misfortunes are practiced in Africa has grounded it into various genres of literature studied from primary to secondary school and also into films.

The girl child is portrayed as a burden to be relieved in some communities in Africa like the Igbo and Hausa tribe in Nigeria. Films like Cry for Help, Victims of the Society, Make a Move, Wives on Strike and many others where the girl child is made to suffer undue violence are ways of studying the predicaments of the girl child. Various cultural and social values have historically contributed to gender disparity in education. Denga explains this further stating that “one prominent cultural view is that it is better for the girl child to stay at home and learn to tend to her family instead of going to school”(85). To explain the fact that more boys than girls are encouraged to acquire education, Obasi opines that the Nigerian tradition was explained as a tradition that attaches higher value to the boy child than the girl child whose place is believed to be in the kitchen (161-178). This however means that, the girl child is looked at as a lesser being. She is deprived of quality education which is a tool that will help to build her. She is used as a form of money exchange, married off at an early stage most times against her will and the money realized from her bride price used to solve problems in the family. She is not given the right to make decisions for herself. Parsons and Edmeades further aver this stating that:

Parents may assess the cost and benefits of marriage and decide to marry their daughters early if they are seen as an economic burden that can be relieved through marriage. Financial transactions around marriage contribute to the practice. In the context where bride price is practiced (i.e. a groom or grooms family provide assets to the bride’s family in exchange for marriage), families may obtain greater financial amount the younger the bride is… when parents marry off their daughters, there are often economic and social reasons for them to make that choice(22).

  All these are portrayed in films in Africa and they form the basis of studies.

          Film, like theatre, serves as a mirror to the society where people realise how they are. Films overtime have been known to capture things going on in the society. It allows us to witness the lives of others and what they go through and experience at some point in time in life. Films have useful impacts on individuals. Thus, by watching films, we sometimes ease off our stress and relax from our daily activities. It exposes us to a life that we might never realistically get to experience by placing ourselves in the shoes of the characters in the film that we are watching. Film studies will enable the viewer to go beyond the feeling and experience to understand better the message the film is passing across.

This research selects two Nigerian films, Dry and Child not Bride as its primary source. Information on how the identity of the girl child is viewed would form the basis of argument in the study.

1.2     Statement of the Problem

The girl child faces lots of societal and community problems which often affect her values. In some African particularly Nigeria, the girl child is discriminated against. She is married off at an early stage which interferes with her education or acquisition of skills needed for survival. She is trained to become a good wife to her husband. The girl child is subjected to the life of a wife and a mother at an early stage which hinders her from improving educationally, psychologically, mentally, economically and socially.

This study therefore aims at drawing the attention of the public to the challenges and struggles of the girl child and how films can be used as a tool to correct this societal ill.

1.3     Purpose of the Study

          The purpose of this study is to help provide an identity for the African girl child. It aims toward revealing how films have been (and can be) used to help project a better image of the girl child. This study is on identifying how films can be used to help in the overall development of the girl.

1.4     Scope/ Limitation of the Study

This study will base its evaluation on the selected films Dry by Stephanie Linus and Child not Bride by Emeka Nwabunze and its focus shall be  on the identity, challenges and struggles of the girl child in Africa particularly Nigeria.

1.5     Significance of the Study

This study will offer an insightful appreciation on the girl child and her overall contribution to nation building. It also attempts to sensitize the general public on the importance of the girl child, her challenges and the dangers of child marriage.

          This study also shows the importance of Film and how it can be used not just for entertainment but also as a tool for educating the girl child and the public.

1.6     Research Methodology

The methodology for carrying out this study is content analysis. The analysis in this case involves the analysis of the content of selected films, which are my primary sources of enquiry. The secondary sources shall be obtained from other films, textbooks, journals, articles, the internet and other materials that are relevant on the subject matter.

1.7     Organization of the Work

This work will be organized using the following layout. The study will be divided into five chapters for detailed and organized research. The first chapter is a general introduction and a build-up of the study. It will also look at the scope and limitations of the study and state the problem with some brief definition of terms.

Chapter Two reviews a wide range of literature in the areas of film, the girl child and Nigerian films.

Chapter Three deals with the synopsis and themes of Dry and Child not Bride.

Chapter Four will focus on the study and a comparative view of the girl child's identity in the two films.

Chapter Five which is the final chapter, concluded the study and generates recommendations for further engagement in the field. Works cited will be documented.

1.8     Definition of Terms

Film Studies

          Film studies according to Andrew “is an academic discipline that deals with the various theoretical, historical and critical approaches to film. It is less concerned with advancing film proficiency in film production than it is with exploring the narrative, artistic, cultural, economic and political implication of the film. Film studies exist as one in which the teacher does not always play the primary educator role, the feature film itself serves that function” (25).

Girl Child

Offorma defines the girl child as;

as a biological female offspring aged between birth and eighteen years who is entirely under the care of an adult parent, guardian or older sibling and in that period of time when she is still developing into an adult. The term girl actually has to do with the issue of being female and period of time or rather the period of childhood and the attainment of adulthood.This period is made up of infancy, childhood, early and late adolescence stage of development (10).


Merriam Webster Dictionary defines interrogation to give or send out a signal to (a device) for triggering an appropriate response.

African Girl:

African girl is a female offspring who is from any of the African countries.

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