What would you say is the main conflict of Ruined?

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sciftw | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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I would say that the main conflict in Lynn Nottage's Ruined is the conflict and tension that exists between Mama's establishment and the soldiers.  The brothel is the main setting of the entire play.  It is where Christian brings Sophie and Salima in Act 1.  There is tension between Mama and Christian that runs throughout the play, but I do not feel that their relationship leads to a climactic scene of any kind.  I believe that the climax of the play occurs when Osembenga comes angrily back into Mama's place, and he and his men start beating the women.  Salima enters the scene, screams for the violence to stop, and dies shortly after.  Because I believe that part is the climax, it leads me to feel that the main conflict is between Mama and Osembenga and his men.  Throughout the play those men make life dangerous for Mama, Christian, Salima, and Sophie.  The four of them do an admirable job of keeping the soldiers at bay while still keeping them in the establishment for their money.