“Truth and Consequences”
****Warning: This podcast contains discussion about abortion, rape, and hastening death****
Claire contemplated offering and performing an abortion if Brianna wanted it. She and Jamie fought over the mere idea of it. Brianna wanted to keep the baby. Young Ian proposed to Brianna at the behest of Jamie. Brianna refused the offer. A fight ensued between her and Jamie. Later the truth came out after Brianna described Roger, sketched a likeness, and gave his true family name. The fair fight on the mountain was discussed. Jamie and Young Ian gave Roger to the Iroquois. Jamie accused Brianna of crying wolf. The gold ring was revealed. Bonnet was the rapist. Claire felt guilty. Jamie internally raged. Young Ian was stunned. Brianna was brutally honest.
Inside the Chapters:
Choices – November 1769
Claire was going through her medicine box that used to belong to Daniel Rawlings. She was going through the contents contemplating offering Brianna an abortion. She said something aloud but didn’t expect a response. When Jamie answered the question, she jumped and sliced herself with the blade she was holding. She told Jamie she was going to use the blade to cut up the root, but he’d only seen her use the blades on people. He asked her what she was doing (p824, Nook). She went on to tell him about her patient Graham Menzies that she helped to die. He thought of Graham as a mercy killing and even duty to help him out of his misery. He reminded her of Dougal easing Rupert after Falkirk and hastening his death. Isn’t it the duty of a doctor who cannot heal a patient and save the man from pain? Claire agreed and tried to explain why she wanted to offer the choice to Brianna (p825, Nook). The conversation turned ugly as they discussed the various aspects of the situation (p826, Nook). So that was it, not the question of paternity, but that Brianna would have to stay in the 18th century. They argued more. The other truth was revealed that Jamie wanted nothing more than a child of his blood. More tension arose as he grabbed her bleeding hand and held it above her claiming her arrogance believing she had power over life and death. To Claire, it was about offering the choice. To Jamie, it was about murdering his grandchild. Claire believed it was no different than Jamie acting in a manner to protect another even if it meant a death occurred. Jamie left with only the word, please.
Claire was upset by the fight. She wondered if it would be safer to take Brianna to Cross Creek, but decided her daughter was safer with her. She thought about what Jamie’s “please” had meant (p829, Nook). Claire thought about the procedure and how she would do it. Claire saw Brianna’s horse in the penfold and went to offer her the choice.
Brianna had thought about it when she figured out she was pregnant. Claire explained it would have to be surgical with the gestation of the pregnancy. Brianna asked if Claire would have aborted her (p831, Nook). Brianna went on to tell her how she felt about the pregnancy (p831, Nook). Claire explained implantation and Brianna said at the moment of implantation she knew someone else was with her. Claire remembered Faith and how she was given two miracles though no longer part of her physically had never left her completely. Claire worried Brianna didn’t know how much she loved her. Brianna knew and had always known.
Brianna could not and would not abort the baby. Claire didn’t want to offer the option to Brianna but felt compelled given all the circumstances. Claire confuses me a bit in this situation, she had never been able to perform abortions in the twentieth century but could offer it to her child out of fear and concern for her future. This chapter is meant to show us the complexities involved in abortion. It is not black and white. It isn’t a question of whether or not the fetus is living for Claire; it is her being terrified Brianna will be stuck. To Jamie, who has killed countless men, a matter of unnecessary murder in taking the life of an unborn without exigent circumstances. To Brianna, she carries a baby, her baby, and she cannot choose to part with him or her. Women carry the joy and burden of being the ones who grow and birth the children. The burden is in the physical risk, and alteration women must undergo in the process of pregnancy and birth. The burden is in the cultural, religious, governmental, and individual mindset surrounding sexuality, marriage, and procreation. The burden is in not being able to hide it. The burden is in the responsibility and consequences being held entirely by women because we get pregnant, not men. Vilifying women is easy. It is easy for men to hold no burden. A man can have children by multiple women, and it is fine, a woman to have children by multiple men is a whore. Someone is having sex with the women who become pregnant. It has happened since time began, but only women are held to an untenable standard and punished. I loathe abortion for what it is and that women feel it is the only option. I never judge the person and only offer love. I judge our culture that perpetuates the need for women to have abortions because we are held in the crosshairs of the societies in which we live.
In Which All is Revealed
There was still no word about Roger Wakefield. Brianna did not discuss him any longer, but it was obvious she thought about him. Claire took stock in the pantry to hide from the mood in the cabin. The winter preparations of foraging, preserving, and stocking had been done. The pantry was full and ready for the long months ahead. Young Ian popped in and asked for a mirror and comb. He had bathed, scrubbed his skin, and slicked his unruly hair back. He wore his best outfit too. Claire wondered where he was going. He planned to court someone and needed to look good. Claire asked if she knew the girl (p835, Nook). He was doing it to give the baby a name, save Brianna’s reputation, and no, he didn’t love her. It also was not his idea; it was Jamie’s plan. Claire didn’t like this one bit. Brianna returned, and she didn’t allow him to finish his proposal. She was angry and left the cabin in a whirl of skirts. Ian was thankful Brianna hadn’t hit him. The Fraser temper was about to strike (p836, Nook). Brianna refused to marry anyone, not even for the sake of the baby. Jamie took it to a whole other level (p838, Nook). Tempers were flaring higher with Jamie angry and she (Brianna) believed he wasn’t trying to protect her. He called her reckless. She called him a bastard (p838, Nook). Young Ian told Claire she needed to throw cold water on them or let them at it. Eventually, they would become hungry.
Jamie stormed off and took a horse to Fergus’s place. Brianna stomped back to the cabin. Claire silently cursed Roger Wakefield. Brianna went to look for eggs in the bushes and returned in better spirits. Jamie returned at dinner time sweaty and also in better spirits. Jamie and Brianna ignored each other. There were glares and limited dinner conversation. Claire instructed Jamie to apologize (p840, Nook). He went over to Brianna and apologized. The walls were broken down, they talked and made up. She planned to wait for Roger. She knew he wasn’t dead. Jamie told her how far he had sent word looking for Roger. What else could he do? He had an idea to have Brianna draw a broadsheet with the likeness of Roger on it. Brianna began to describe Roger (p842, Nook). Brianna drew the sketch. Jamie and Young Ian acted oddly (p843, Nook). THE TRUTH IS ABOUT TO COME OUT. Claire fetched brandy. Brianna explained about Roger’s adoption and asked if they heard of a Roger MacKenzie. In fact, they had (p844, Nook). Jamie further explained what happened after Lizzie told him about it. Young Ian and Jamie told her it was a fair fight. She screamed at them (p845, Nook). Brianna felt ill. Young Ian assured her it could have been worse since they had meant to kill him after all. Brianna needed to hear the whole story, including what Roger had said during the altercation (p846, Nook). Jamie was under the misguided assumption that now she cried wolf and was never raped. He could not allow himself to kill a man when he wasn’t sure if it was rape (p847, Nook). Imagine being in the room while this was going on!
Claire realized what was happening and pulled the gold ring from her pocket (p848, Nook). Jamie stood rigid in the middle of the room. Young Ian could only say the name. Claire retreated into the corner knowing she betrayed Jamie and Roger by not telling Jamie about the name of the rapist. She had betrayed Brianna having assisted in damning Roger. Brianna looked into Jamie’s face and muttered cruelty (p848, Nook).
Well, how was that for a happy family meeting? Claire feels guilty for not telling Jamie that Brianna had slept with Roger then was raped later by Bonnet. Is she guilty? Brianna felt betrayed by Jamie and Young Ian’s sense of honor and duty. Who holds the bulk of the responsibility in this horrific mess? COMMUNICATION and assumption are at the heart of all of this. What are your thoughts? Jamie should never have acted out of assumption and partial knowledge. Brianna should have said she was raped after being handfasted to Roger and consummating their marriage. She still hadn’t divulged that wee detail. Claire should have said more. Brianna and Claire should have said Roger’s full name. Was Brianna right in being so angry and saying something so cruel? Can you picture yourself in that position?
What’s Coming up? Chapters 51-53 Drums of Autumn (DOA).
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The Outlander book series is written by Diana Gabaldon. You can find her on Twitter and Facebook
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