The play Ruined revolves around the struggle and difficulty that females

| September 2, 2016


a play by Lynn Nottage

Name: Aakanchie Mahajan

Student #: 21114162

Date: Wednesday October 10, 2012

Professor:Leslie Sanders

Course Code:HREQ 3510

Course Name:Arts and Rights

The play Ruined revolves around the struggle and difficulty that females endured during the war in Democratic Public of Congo. The entire play itself opens the eyes of the audience and takes the reader towards a new avenue of hope and faith in the midst of smoke that arises from weapons and cries. The war normally forgets about women and focuses on destruction and casualties. Somewhere in the middle of it all, it forgets about violence on women, impact of war on women, psychological and physical rape, and domestic abuse and community rejection. Lynn Nottage brings up such topics in her play to allow the audience to think about what happens to women. It forces the audience to think outside the box and think critically of the role of women during wartime. The meaning of the title astonished me and forced me to think beyond the occupation of prostitution. It gave prostitution a whole new respect that women deserve and have been fighting for from centuries.

Similar to the beliefs of the majority of the population, I believed that prostitution is not forced upon but a choice that is made by women in order to make easy and lots of money. Prior to reading the play, I never made an effort to learn or understand what got these women to a profession that is shunned upon by millions of people. I never understood why women chose to sell their bodies when they could use their talents elsewhere. Unless an individual reads the play, the title holds no deep meaning other than the ruins of the war. Once the characters and their stories are revealed, the true meaning of ruined is understood. Mama Nadi, the main lead is both the protector and the exploiter of the other women who are in her brothel protected by the brutal men.Mama is the protector asThe brothel is where the meaning of ruined is understood in an unusual context as opposed to what may be considered as ‘normal’.Therefore, the setting plays a key role.

There are numerous situations where the relationship between the title and the exposition occur. However, one example from the play that sparks a connection between the title and the text depicted through Salima’s story.Salima is explaining her story and sharing the terror of the morning, she experienced and let her to the brothel along with the pain she had endeavored in the journey to the brothel (pp.67-70). She is explaining the pain, the struggle, the rejection, the torture, the torment that she went through for five months of separation from her beloved husband and daughter. She is wondering in these pages, what she did wrong to be rejected rather then embraced. The rejection led her to strongly believe that it was her own mistake for sending her husband (Fortune) to get a pot for dinner. Salima’s scene is a direct passage to the title of the play because in this case she was ruined not just physically but emotionally and mentally. The details of Salima’s story portray the hardships a woman suffered between the battles of men. What was their fault after all is what I wonder like Salima and other females in brothel as well. Mama Nadi and her brothel showered upon the love and acceptance that family members denied to offer. This is the first time the audience is revealed to the scars and suffering of the women. Thee women are living their lives in a disguised shelter and carry the ruins from their past. The text helped me understand what distinct situations lead to. If the brothel were not in existence for these women as shelter, where would they go? Women like Salima would lose all hope and possibly be found dead somewhere. However, the existence of the brothel and bar helped women like Josephine reshape their lives and start fresh. In this case, Josephine dreams to live with Mr. Harrari a luxurious life away from the brothel, away from the war and away from the ruins. All women have their own painful stories but they all attempt to put the ruins back together and start fresh without giving another thought about the moral and values of the society.

Overall, the play depicts ruined in many ways but it highlights it through the perspective of females living an unknown and unidentified life of a prostitute who are happy that they are safe from the terrors of men but at the same time wish to be accepted by their families and rejoice like before.


Nottage, L. (2009). Ruined: a play. New York: Theatre Communications Group.

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