Why do you think Lynn Nottage wrote the play "Ruined"?

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Lynn Nottage apparently wrote the play Ruined , to bring awareness to several topics of interest in the early 21st century. Of particular note are the themes found in the play. Nottage brushes upon themes like civil war, sexual violence, and instinctive survival skills. The main character, Mama Nadi, is...

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Lynn Nottage apparently wrote the play Ruined, to bring awareness to several topics of interest in the early 21st century. Of particular note are the themes found in the play. Nottage brushes upon themes like civil war, sexual violence, and instinctive survival skills. The main character, Mama Nadi, is a straight forward, direct survivor who balances tough love with common sense. Set in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the play offers an in depth look into the violence-scarred region. Nottage traveled to the Congo to interview women who were directly impacted by sexual violence, and she came away with a unique perspective on how war impacts women and how those women suffer inhumane violations to their basic human rights. Ultimately, the overarching theme is hope. There is a sense of hope that even despite overwhelming circumstances, the human spirit can survive.

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In writing the play, Lynn Nottage wanted to give a voice to the hundreds and thousands of women subjected to rape and sexual violence during the Congolese civil war. In modern conflicts, it tends to be civilians who endure the most suffering, and what happened in Congo is no different. Here, sexual violence was deliberately used as a weapon of war against women, causing trauma and suffering on a massive scale. But Nottage doesn't simply want to present such women as victims; she takes great care to show their strength in the face of extreme adversity. In doing so, she presents a more rounded picture, showing us that, due to their horrific experiences, they have something important to tell us about the nature of modern war and its effect on the lives of ordinary people.

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No doubt this modern work of drama and winner of the 2009 Pulitzer Prize (for drama) has a political and social message at its core.  Author Lynn Nottage admitts in interviews that the play was inspired by the chaos, conflict, and violence committed against women in the Eastern Congo.  Set directly in the heart and time of war torn Congo and specifically focusing on the lives and characters of the women within a brothel, though this play is not a work of non-fiction, it is based on the true to life details of the violence, injustice, and brokenness of a group of women who's stories might otherwise go untold.  Nottage desires her audience to watch (or read), become educated--perhaps for the first time--of the global sexual violence issue, and be so moved that they feel compelled to act.  This, likely, was her primary purpose for writing the play.

Nottage has traveled to Uganda, and conducted a series of interviews with many Congolese refugees.  While there, she realized that more than anything, these women deserved to have their stories told.  In so doing, she admits she also wrote for herself, and of herself:

I realized that I am telling a story not just about these women, I am telling a story about myself but for the grace of God, which is the context. And I also feel a tremendous sisterhood with these women (Nottage, The Root interview).

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