Lynn Nottage explores several important ideas in the play Ruined, and three themes that stand out include: rape as a tool, changing definitions of masculinity, and resilience.
The significance of rape is clear in the fact that every female character in the play is affected by sexual violence; they all live with either a physical injury to their bodies or a psychological injury to their minds, or both. Sophie, Salima, and Mama Nadi all must endure the shame of their experience, as well as the pain and the likelihood that they are all unable to have children. That the soldiers used rape as a tool to damage both individuals as well as the prospects of a future generation suggests a particularly male form of ruthlessness that perpetually threatens the survival of these women.
The men in the play all represent varying notions of masculinity. There is the hyper-masculinity of the strongmen, who easily resort to violence to get their way, as well as the sensitive, emotional side of masculinity...
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