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Outlander (Outlander, #1)
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Archived 2014 Group Reads > 07/28 Outlander, Chapters 21-23

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Zulfiya (ztrotter) This week we are discussing chapters 21-23.

The reality of the 18th century finally caught up with Claire - I am definitely talking about her being whipped by her lawful husband. It surely might sound outrageous for modern readers, but for the eighteenth century it was a reality. I am actually quite surprised that it took Claire so long to see the reality of that life for women. It was one of the few episodes I found interesting, and its outcome was logically inevitable.

The other one was Jamie's revelations about his father's death who died heart-broken witnessing his son being flogged again.

There are things that upset me a lot: latent homophobia in Claire's thinking - She seemed to be quite progressive for her time, and hardly ever mentions god or religion for her emotional well-being, and she definitely an independent spirit.

As for sexual scenes - they are mostly irritating me. The mastery of D.H.Lawrence definitely evades Gabaldon, and maybe it is the reason Lawrence is studied in schools and universities and Gabaldon is not, but Gabaldon seems to be very particular about those scenes. They seem to be one of the biggest part of the narrative. What's more annoying - Claire does not seem to be concerned with existential questions at all: What is the purpose of it all? Why is she there? Why are so many people unhappy? What is happening to her other husband? And I am not talking about questions of hunger, pain, misery, justice, etc. She is one shallow, shallow being.

Please share your thoughts below.

P.S. I must tell you that this part at least had an arch, and it was easier to follow than any other chapters we have read so far.

Sara First, I have to apologize for my absence in recent weeks from the discussion of Outlander. June and July completely slammed with work and trips to various places. I'm now back and completely caught up.

A couple points:

(1) While I certainly don't agree with Jamie's actions in whipping Claire, I do agree with him when he asserts
that she has been taking his orders (in regards to safety) too casually. "'Well that's the point,' he said slowly. 'Ye might. And it's because ye dinna take things as seriously as they are. Ye come from a place where things are easier, I think. Tis not a matter of life or death where ye come from to disobey orders or take matters into your own hands. At worst, ye might cause someone discomfort, or be a bit of a nuisance, but it isn't likely to get someone killed..." One would think that since Claire comes from having been an army nurse, that she'd be familiar with military discipline and the need to follow orders. Also that being alone in a strange place she'd rely heavily on those more familiar with the surroundings like Jamie.

2. The homophobia bothered me as well, but I read it as coming from the author not from Claire (who I think is reacting as a woman of her time would). Why is the one homosexual/bisexual character in the book, the villain (Randall)? I thinking he could have easily just been a been heterosexual sadist without taking away from the main plot of the story.

3. The sex scenes wouldn't bother me if there weren't so bloody many of them. Is it just me or have they been increasing in frequency?

4. Not directly related to this chapter, but related to the book as a whole so far...Book Riot (a book website I love) has just started running a Romance 101 feature. This article discusses marriages of convince. Since this is (at least initially) what Jamie and Claire's marriage is, I thought it'd be interesting food for thought.

Zulfiya (ztrotter) Sara wrote: "The sex scenes wouldn't bother me if there weren't so bloody many of them. Is it just me or have they been increasing in frequency?"

You are not the only one, Sara. Sex does not bother me at all, but it seems to me that Gabaldon is using sex as a page filler.

message 4: by Zulfiya (last edited Jul 31, 2014 05:59PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Zulfiya (ztrotter) P.S. I love Book Riot. Thank you for sharing. I have discovered many books through sites dedicated especially to books and book reviews.

Claire in this week's section has definitely fallen into a certain pitfall of whipping.

message 5: by Deana (last edited Aug 03, 2014 11:54AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Deana (ablotial) It's interesting ... previously we had been claiming that Jaime was "too good" and not a believable character, but I think in this section we begin to see his not so nice side. True, I think he is a product of his times, and whipping your wife and forcing her to have sex with you were ... well, it was not frowned on like it is today. But given his behaviors in the first chapters, I would have expected him to be "above that" and treat her better (even though that would be a bit anachronistic) just ... because he seemed to be that kind of guy (believable or not). I didn't like seeing this side of him, to be honest.

I haven't felt there is too much sex in this novel, at least not so far ... though I agree it is used as filler, the scenes are short. I have read books with much longer and detailed sex scenes.

What bothers me about the sex in this book is that it is VIOLENT! I was expecting romantic love making, and instead I'm getting bruised hips and thighs and him saying he will pile drive her into the wall and people getting bitten until they bleed and him having sex with her to teach her a lesson... which is definitely the wrong reason.

Sex is being used in this novel to cause others to be submissive, not as a show of their love for each other. That just rubs me the wrong way.

Also, it really bothers me that we are now halfway through the novel, and Jaime has married Claire and seems to like her (until this last section at least!) but still calls her "Sassenach". He called her "Claire" ONCE in this section, and it caught me off guard somehow. Sassenach seems kind of derogatory to me and it bothers me that he is still using this term to describe his wife. And actually, given Claire's feistyness, I am surprised she puts up with it!

Shea Although some people use "sassenach" as a derogatory term Jamie uses it as a term of endearment. It is not, in itself, a negative term since it just means someone who is not from Scotland. It all depends on how the speaker feels about someone from the outside. Jamie appreciates that Claire is different and from somewhere else. Claire doesn't tolerate being called "Sassenach" by someone else, in a negative tone, but that may have not come up yet.

Zulfiya (ztrotter) Deana wrote: "Sex is being used in this novel to cause others to be submissive, not as a show of their love for each other. That just rubs me the wrong way."

It does not rub me the wring way - it 'scrubs' me the wrong way. Sorry for my audacious attempt to play with the idiom. Sex by compulsion is not exactly what one would ascribe to the man who was a virgin before his 'prima nocta'. Jamie definitely acts out of character : he is either the author's oversight in this aspect or he does not feel confident as a husband, and this is his way to deal with this lack of confidence.

Lauren (tewks) | 6 comments For me, this was the most interesting section of the book, because I couldn't figure out my stance on it. I started off being outraged when Jaimie beat Claire, but eventually decided that he really couldn't have done otherwise.

The sex to assert my authority scene? I suppose something like that was needed to resolve the scene, but I didn't need to read about it so much.

Deana (ablotial) But it's just ... ok, so this book isn't a time travel adventure really, it's a romance. And I don't mind a romance novel every now and then, so fine.

Except we have a fair amount of rape, we have one actual somewhat romantic sex scene interrupted by soldiers who try to kill them and the woman has to stab a man, and then we have a new husband who is clearly trying to be very dominant and forceful even in their "normal" sex, plus this "sex to assert my authority". I dunno, it doesn't seem very romantic to me...

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