Feminist Perspective in “Ruined” Play by Nottage Essay

July 16, 2021 by Essay Writer

Updated: Jun 7th, 2021


Ruined is a play written by an American playwright Lynn Nottage. This is a story about the issues of women in the Democratic Republic of Congo during the civil war. The play provoked a strong public reaction in different parts of the world. While some people, like a Dean at Princeton University, find some false notes in the drama, others actively support the narrative choice of the author (Dolan). Indeed, the play raises topical questions about women’s plight in the modern world and deserves to be supported.

Main body

The comments of ‘Anonymous’ published as a response to the review of Jill Dolan, demonstrate the importance of women’s role as mothers during the war. The author links the story of Mama Nadi with the story of Mother Courage who lost her three children, trying to get benefits from the war. They also highlight how significant it is to never engage in war since both women and men lose a lot as a result of military actions. The author expresses concern that sometimes it is suggested that women suffer more than men during wartime. Overall, the comment contains very positive feedback about the play which is considered as “genius”.

I, personally, agree with the opinion of the author of the comment. Indeed, Mama Nadi is an entirely different character that has nothing to do with Mother Courage from the play of the German dramatist Bertolt Brecht. While Mother Courage was trying to make money out of the war without thinking of her children, Mama Nadi felt a deep pain inside. She understands that she has to use other women to save her daughters. Moreover, Mama Nadi took care of all the women in her house. She said: “I expect my girls to be well-behaved and clean. I provide a bed, food, and clothing. If things are good, everyone gets a little” (Nottage 12). Therefore, even though the business of Mama Nadi based on using sexual attractiveness of women, she appears to be more thoughtful and less selfish than Mother Courage.

However, I cannot fully accept the idea of the author about a total rejection of war as a means of overthrowing the political power in the country. There is no doubt that it is better to avoid military actions, but the author did not suggest any other ways to deal with the current political situation in their state. I think that it is not a good idea to wait for a better time without doing anything fearing the war. Something needs to be done to improve people’s lives in the future. If it is not possible to avoid war, then it is necessary to prepare the population, to evacuate women, children, and elders from the places of military actions.


I would also like to add that the author’s concerns about reducing the role of men in the war have no basis. There are a lot of works dedicated to the heroism of men in wars, such as What It Is Like To Go To War by Karl Marlantes, Civil War Stories by Ambrose Bierce, or War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. However, the play Ruined is one of the works that aims to show women’s lives and their plight during the war. I think that concentration on women’s issues is one of the most strong sides of the play. Even nowadays, in the 21st century, we still see evidence of women’s discrimination in different parts of the world. Thus, Congo became the worst place for women in the world during the armed conflicts there (Kahozi 1). Therefore, it is extremely important to pay attention to the world community to the issues faced by women during the war either in Congo or any other places.

Works Cited

Dolan, Jill. “Ruined, by Lynn Nottage.” Feminist Spectator, Web.

Kahozi, Daniel. The Worst Place on Earth to Be a Woman: Novelists, Playwrights, and Memoirists on the Congo Armed Conflicts (1996-2010). Dissertation, University of Texas, 2016. UT, 2016.

Nottage, Lynn. Ruined. Dramatist’s Play Service, Inc., 2010.

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