What is the main message in Ruined  by Lynn Nottage?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I think that one of the critical messages of the play is that there are amazingly brutal consequences to war, in general, and civil war, in particular.  The play focuses on women who have been ravaged by war, the casualties that often fall silent.  There is also a demand to reexamine what it means to be "ruined."  Given everyone in the drama being so impacted and so irreparably changed by civil war, it seems that everyone, to a great extent, is "ruined."  In this acknowledgement, the drama seems to offer the idea that there can be some hope of redemption, some hope of change and alteration, if individuals recognize the need to shelter one another and provide solidarity in a setting that does not openly embrace it.  I think that this becomes a critical message of the drama in its suggestion that while government might lack the will or the capacity to care for citizens, it is up to one another to look out and help individuals endure the challenging conditions of civil war in the hopes of eventually triumphing over them.  When Mama declares her own condition of being "ruined," it is supplanted by the dance that she and Christian share, one that is resisted at first, and then embraced afterwards.  It is here where a starting point towards redemption could be evident, and a primary message of the drama.

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