Ruined

by Lynn Nottage

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What is the climax of Ruined?

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In dramatic and literary terms, the climax is the point of highest tension in a story. It's that moment in the narrative of maximum dramatic—and often emotional—intensity, to which the preceding action has been building. In Ruined, the climax comes at the end of act 2, scene 6. Salima, one of the young ladies working at Mama Nadi's place, dies after appearing to commit an act of self-harm. Salima was pregnant—she was one of many thousands of women raped during the long and bitter Congolese civil war. Rape was deliberately used as a weapon in this terrible conflict, and Salima was one of its many victims.

When a troop of soldiers raids Mama Nadi's bar looking for Kisembe, the atmosphere is fraught with violent tension. Salima can never forget what happened to her at the hands of rampaging soldiers in the past; she's certain that the men who've just arrived will do to the other girls what has already been done to her. In the midst of all this chaos and imminent danger, Salima fatally harms herself, killing her unborn child in the process. But before she dies, she has at last asserted her freedom, reclaiming her body from the men who abused it.

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