Ruined By Lynn Nottage Summary

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Ruined by Lynn Nottage is a heartbreaking tale detailing the journey of Mama Nadi and the damaged girls who she houses in her brothel. Caught in the crosshairs of a brutal civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the women in this novel are desperately trying to reclaim their bodies that have been used as weapons of war. The combination of the chilling account of the women and the melodramatic tendencies evoke strong emotions and reveal the horrors of humanity and perseverance. The scene is set in the forest of the Congo, in a run down brothel. Mama Nadi, the brash and confident owner, welcomes her friend Christian into her brothel. However, Christian is not alone, as he brings three young girls with him to sell to Mama Nadi. Mama buys…show more content…
The main goal of a melodrama is to elicit a strong emotional response from the audience, and the story is sometimes exaggerated to accomplish this. Nottage tells the story of the sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo because the events are so horrific and almost unimaginable to those who do not live there; the trials that Salima and Sophie have to go through are terrifying, and the audience has a strong, negative emotional response. Secondly, in a melodrama, the heroes and villains are clear, and there usually is not any grey area involved with the character’s morals. Similarly, the play sets up from the beginning who the victims and the perpetrators are, and the audience wants to see the soldiers and rebels brought to justice. In addition, tragedies have a restoration of some sort, and the ending is cathartic as there is a resolution. However, in this case, the ending does not provide any peace, as it ends with “Fortune [cradling] Salima in his arms...she dies...blackout” (Nottage 63). This ending is the opposite of cathartic, as the audience is left only with the information that Salima is dead. The whereabouts of all the other characters that played an integral role in the death of Salima are not revealed, and the story ends there. Lastly, the final point of a melodrama is that the hero is a good person in a bad situation. Salima was a wife and a mother, and Sophie was an eighteen year old girl; they were entangled in the ruins of war, and as a result, were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Salima and Sophie were undeniably damaged, but their environment made the situation almost

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