What I like about Claire
In honor of Claire Fraser's birthday on October 20th, I thought I'd share a few of my own thoughts about what makes her such a compelling character.
Could I live without all the "conveniences," large and small, to which I was accustomed?I had been asking myself that with each touch of a button, each rumble of a motor, and was quite sure that the answer was "yes." Time didn't make all the difference, after all; I could walk across the city and find people who lived without many of these conveniences--farther abroad and there were entire countries where people lived in reasonable content and complete ignorance of electricity.For myself, I had never cared a lot. I had lived with my uncle Lamb, an eminent archaeologist, since my own parents' death when I was five. Consequently, I had grown up in conditions that could conservatively be called "primitive," as I accompanied him on all his field expeditions.(From Voyager by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 19 ("To Lay a Ghost"). Copyright © 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
There is no question that Claire seems to adapt to 18th-century life more quickly and more easily than a lot of us imagine that we would in the same circumstances. (And she adapts much more readily than Brianna does, certainly.) Jamie's presence has a lot to do with that, of course; Claire is willing to put up with a lot, even sleeping on the cold, hard ground in close proximity to a battlefield, just to be near him.
As much as everyone talks about the vaunted Fraser stubbornness, I think Claire is at least a match for Jamie in that respect. She doesn't give up easily, even when faced with overwhelming odds. (Examples include the scene in OUTLANDER when she fought off the wolf with her bare hands, or the infamous "wife-beating" scene.) You get the sense that she'll move heaven and earth to protect the ones she loves, no matter what it costs her.
"Jamie," I said, into the folds of his plaid. "I'm going back with you."
He started back, staring down at me.
"The hell you are!" he said.
"I am." I felt very calm, with no trace of doubt. "I can make a kilt of my arisaid; there are enough young boys with the army that I can pass for one. You've said yourself it will all be confusion. No one will notice."
"No!" he said. "No, Claire!" His jaw was clenched, and he was glaring at me with a mixture of anger and horror.
"If you're not afraid, I'm not either," I said, firming my own jaw. "It will...be over quickly. You said so." My chin was beginning to quiver, despite my determination. "Jamie--I won't...I can't...I bloody won't live without you, and that's all!"
(From Dragonfly In Amber by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 46 ("Timor Mortis Conturbat Me"). Copyright ©1992 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
I think there's no way on earth she would have left him at that point, if he hadn't begged her to do so for the sake of their unborn child. It was the only possible way he could overcome her stubbornness and determination.
3) Medical Skills
Claire's medical knowledge and skill have impressed me from the very beginning. I love the scene in OUTLANDER where she sets Jamie's broken fingers, overcoming her own fear and distress in the face of this dire medical emergency, and managing, despite her lack of experience, to repair the damage well enough so that he could still use the hand.
I love watching Claire work as a surgeon, though sometimes she surprises me, as when she occasionally operates by "feel":
I felt the fibrous parting of skin and fascia, resistance, then the soft pop as the blade went in. There was a sudden loud gurgle, and a wet kind of whistling noise; the sound of air being sucked through blood. Roger's chest moved. I felt it, and it was only then that I realized my eyes were still shut.
(From The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 69 ("Hideous Emergency"). Copyright© 2001 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
What else? Are there other aspects of Claire's personality that you particularly like, or dislike? And why?