If you saw my post with the introduction about my MA paper on Outlander last Friday, you already know how I came to use Outlander for academic purposes, and how happy I was to be able to do that. Today, I’m talking about the novel, and a specific scene that happened in both the novel, the TV show and the graphic novel.
One of the aspects of the novel, the graphic novel, and the TV show that caught my attention is that the main characters behave the same way across all three media. This shows that at least part of the story remains the same, even if it is told differently. Claire is assertive and strong, with little thought to her own safety when it comes to setting Jamie’s shoulder correctly. Because she is a nurse and knows how to deal with a dislocated shoulder, this becomes more important to her than anything else in this instance as can be seen below.
The novel is narrated by Claire, and written in either third person as she describes the other characters and their actions, or in first person when she narrates her own actions and reactions. There are also dialogues, which bring the action closer to the reader, as these seem to happen in the present time, both when it comes to the story and the reading of the story. In the excerpt above, taken from page 41 of Outlander, Claire’s exclamation shows her taking control over the situation, throwing caution to the wind to make sure Jamie’s injury will not be made worse by the men’s actions.
The narration here shows that when she was in that moment, Claire was “oblivious to the startled looks of the men”, but she must have been aware of this on one level in order to be able to report it when sharing the story at a later time. This also shows how strong Claire’s character is, she is not a shrinking violet who will stand on the sidelines and let the men do as they like. She is indeed issuing an order to the men, not taking into account that there are several of them, nor that she might be better served not sharing her strength and knowledge at this point.
Claire exerts a certain power, which is an anachronism in 18th century Scotland, and this serves as a reminder to the readers that Claire is not only out of place, but also out of time. Her exclamation also brings the reader into the story, both with anticipation and possibly a little fear. What will the men do next? In the graphic novel, Claire grabs the man who is trying to set Jamie’s shoulder, here, she merely “elbowed Rupert back” to make room for herself. While there is a certain level of tension here, reading what happened makes the diffusion of the tension arrive faster than it did in the graphic novel.
When “the bald man” snaps at Claire for an explanation, “clearly irritated” by the intrusion, she is not deterred in her objective at all. In fact, she continues forward towards Jamie, as if she is in charge like she might have been in the field hospital. She moves while seemingly unconcerned, and rather unceremoniously explains that they will break Jamie’s arm if the continue in the same fashion they had started. At this point, the narration moves outward again for a little while, showing that Claire has reflected on this moment and later realised how surprised the men were at both her outburst and the fact that she seemed very confident in her own knowledge about Jamie’s dislocated shoulder.