These are Lauren's Questions from Chapters 22-28.The Questions for Week Five are by Logan at Logan E. Turner!
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Wherein Claire finally makes a good decision and that controversial thing happens.
Jamie, how do you make me want to slap you in one chapter and swoon in the next?
1. How do you feel about Claire disobeying Jamie and the resulting punishment he brings forth on her for this? Do you feel that Jamie's punishment was justified by the fact that everyone was put in danger by Claire's actions? Finally, did Jamie's vow with Claire's dagger do anything to sway your thoughts or change your mind on how you initially feel/felt about his punishment?
I knew before reading Outlander that the book contained some controversial subjects, and this is certainly one of them. OF COURSE I’m against the beating of women and anyone else (no matter the reason). And I was really upset with Jamie when the scene happened. But I am amazed at Diana Gabaldon’s ability to write about difficult topics in a way that causes her reader to understand them – and sometimes accept them.
I was really upset and uncomfortable during the beating scene of the book – especially because Claire resisted and Jamie held her down and beat her “within an inch of her life.” And because he got so much pleasure out of it. Thankfully, it was at least recounted the next morning by Claire, because I don’t think I could have handled a play-by-play of the experience. I was really REALLY mad at Jamie after it happened. And my love for him did slip a bit. I don’t care if Claire was stupid and brought Jamie and his men into danger, she didn't deserve to be hit for it (no one does).
However, I’ve come to understand that this was an acceptable punishment in 18th century Scotland. Laoghaire faces it early in the book (In hindsight, I wish she’d actually gotten the punishment instead of Jamie – I know that’s mean, but I detest her!), and we learn that Jamie was beaten throughout childhood for his mistakes. Examining the scene from the perspective of someone living in that culture, I can – in my head, at least – understand why Jamie took the action against Claire. And why he thought that there was nothing wrong with what he did. Although emotionally, I think he should have known better. And re-reading those scenes still makes me angry.
Honestly, I wanted Claire to stay mad at Jamie for a long time. I think he should have slept on the floor for a few more nights, at least. But when Claire did forgive him, I wanted to give her a high five for stepping up and threatened Jamie if he ever did it again. Because I’m not sure that I could handle reading another scene like that. I don’t think that the dagger scene changed my mind about the punishment. Instead, my anger about it did lessen considerably when I began to examine the culture objectively, and saw that, to Jamie, beating was a “normal” way to punish someone at that time.
Claire and Jamie definitely have a volatile relationship (I mentioned this in last weeks post). She verbally lashes out at him in anger and he physically. It’s something that they both need to work on – I’ll fully admit that Claire also says and does some pretty inexcusable things this week (I was pretty angry at her as well). But what I love in all of the drama is that they are both learning to care for each other. I can tangibly see their relationship growing deeper.
2. Just for fun, what was your reaction to the suspicious black spot Claire spotted on the floor near the area where Jamie was sleeping? Did you have any theories to what it might have been before it was revealed to be a _____ ?
With all the non-washing these people do, I was waiting for bed bugs to show up. Shudder! I would have had a complete panic attack if I’d found one in my room. And done just as Claire did when she made Jamie sleep on the floor with her after that. I’m sure I’d neurotically check the bed every night for the rest of my life, as well.
I didn't really have any other theories. I was actually paying more attention to Jamie and Claire’s conversation than to the moving black spot.
3. With regard to the 'changeling' baby Claire and Geilie spotted in the wild - if it were you back then and you happened upon a changeling baby in the wild in a circumstance such as this, do you think you'd have reacted most like Claire or Geilie? Explain.
There’s no way that I could have left a baby to die on that cliff. Honestly that scene made me really upset, because I could imagine it really happening. I know that different versions of that scene have taken place all throughout history (Even today, though thankfully laws in the US allow people to leave their unwanted newborns safely in hospitals now). I understand that the baby may have died anyway, but to leave it helpless and alone in its last hours is just so upsetting. I still feel ill thinking about it.
The idea of a changeling baby and the whole witch-hunt that followed made me see how truly primitive and superstitious some of the beliefs were in 18th century Scotland. I was appalled by that whole section as well. Although I literally live down the street from theRebecca Nurse house in old Salem, MA, the idea that people were regularly killed throughout history for being ‘witches’ never gets any less horrifying.
4. Share your thoughts on Geilie Duncan. Is there anything that surprised you about her story or were you suspicious of her from the beginning?
Gellie Duncan ended up being much more complex and interesting than I originally thought. I liked her when we first met her, but then I didn’t like her for most of this visit (and wanted Claire to get away from her fast!). However, at the end when we find out that she also came from the 21st century, I wished that Claire had been able to spend more time with her. I wanted to learn more ofGellie’s story.
I was not surprised that Gellie killed her husband. And though I didn’t think of her giving Laoghaire the bad wish, it didn’t shock me that she did it. But, it definitely surprised me that Gellie came from the future too. Once we discovered that fact, I really wanted to know why she was a Jacobite when clearly they don’t win. Was she attempting to change history? Jamie says that they probably won’t kill her before the baby is born, so perhaps Claire will get a chance to talk to her again.
5. Your thoughts on Jamie's LAST REASON for wanting to marry Claire - the one he had been so secretive about. GO!
Can Jamie get any more awesome? Seriously. I keep thinking that he can’t, and then BAM he says something else that makes me melt into a puddle on the floor.
I was really pleased when Claire opened up and told Jamie who she is, and then chose Jamie over Frank (Finally!). I’m ready for her to move forward with her relationship with Jamie. I didn’t think that could happen with Frank still hanging between them. I’m also glad that Jamie waited until after that point to tell Claire how he feels about her.I actually, wasn’t surprised that Jamie’s last reason was that he loved her: “Because I wanted you. More than I ever wanted anything in my life.” But hearing him say the words, made me swoon dead away. I think what got me, is that he knew that Claire was just marrying him out of duty, but he just went on loving her. Giving her constant outs, including TAKING HER TO THE STONE CIRCLE. Wanting and waiting for her to choose him. Thank you, Claire for FINALLY picking Jamie.
Reading this section, I was amazed at Ms. Gabaldon’s ability to bring me from anger at Jamie for what happens in in chapter 22 to basically thinking that he can do no wrong by chapter 28. Many of her characters surprised me in these chapters – Gellie, NedGowan’s heroics, Colum leaving Claire to burn, even the fact that Claire likes the Duke (though I can’t support anyone who would forcibly rape a child). I do hope that Laoghaire goes the way of Gellie’s husband in the next section. Though I know I’m being too optimistic about that (Can you tell that I do NOT like her?). This was also a nice reprieve from Captain Randall, but he and his evilness are sure to pop up again.
Here's the remainder of the schedule:
Questions for chapters 29-35 answered & questions announced for chapters 36-41 on The Reading Housewives
Questions for chapters 36-41 answered on Gone with the Words.