Essay about Ruined, By Lynn Nottage

Essay about Ruined, By Lynn Nottage

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There seems to be a dominant view throughout Western Civilizations that we are all living in the best possible time to be alive so far. For many of us, that tends to be the case. In Western Civilizations, literacy rates are up, child mortality is low, race relations and the LGBTQIA movements have made strides, and technology has provided a level of convenience and excess not yet seen. These simple truths that we take for granted, however, are not simple truths all across the globe. In fact, many areas have suffered due to these advances. In the play, Ruined, by Lynn Nottage, a powerful narrative is told that serves as a commentary about the destruction of local cultures due to the intrusive nature of war and Western Civilization in that it depicts the steady loss or change of individual and community identity for the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Economic shifts and troubles can create strife among communities throughout the world, and the same can be seen in Ruined. Mobile phones, popularized and later necessitated in the Western World require the mineral coltan to function properly. At the beginning of Ruined, it is mentioned that the small town in which Mama Nadi’s bar is located has been found to be a hotspot for the mineral. This introduction of a valuable natural resource draws people to the town and destabilizes the economy due to the inflow of wealth. Wealth in such quantities and this destabilization leads to a breakdown of the community and a change to the individual to focus more on wealth and a game of who can understand and use the coltan to maximize profits. This is shown when Mama Nadi takes a whole chunk of coltan from a soldier as payment for one of her girls. While the soldier sees this as just pa...


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...his story show the harsh conditions the men are exposed to in war, but also it further demonstrates the hold coltan has on the minds of those who live in the Congo. The want for coltan leads to the destruction of the community and individual identities of those involved as it perpetuates a cycle of war that damages men, induces violence against women, and ultimately creates a cycle of lost identity.
In the end, Ruined illuminates a war that ravages the people of the Congo and strips them of the community they had once called home and of the people who they used to be. The need for cell phones and the mineral coltan in the Western world lead to a great deal of war and strife in the Congo. Ruined acts as a medium where we can view those consequences and understand just how big of an impact globalism can have on other areas of the world and the people who live there.

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