What is the voice of Ruined by Lynn Nottage?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The voice that Nottage appropriates in telling the story of Ruined is a complex one.  An element that is clear is the strong demand that the war that is ravaging both the nation and the people of the Congo, in particular the women, must stop.  It is something that comes out through the characters of the drama, and through her own research, evident in how the play develops. 

I think that another part of the voice that emerges is one of seeking some type of therapeutic end.  The need for the characters, such as Mama, to find some peace, some level of sanctuary from the most heartless of worlds is a part of Nottage's voice throughout the drama and in the construction of her characters. 

I would also suggest that there is a very feminist point of view included in the voice presented in the drama.  Nottage's work is significant because it gives voice to the women who are often silenced in the narrative of the civil wars that rage between nations, dismissed by the world community as "indigenous" fighting. 

In the end, Nottage suggests that the plight of these women cannot be ignored and in appropriating them in her own voice, she seeks to give to that which has been silenced for so long.  In this, the voice of the play is a complex one, seeking to articulate much for there is much in this context to articulate.

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