Terry Dresbach

Outlander Costume Designer

CLAIRE BEAUCHAMP

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 Claire - Surgery_edited-2

So, it has been awhile, since the contest ended.
Buried deeply in Season Two. I have read all the entries, a few times, and honestly…I just cannot choose. There are too many great ones. Too many styles. Some are very beautiful, written by people with degrees in literature and english, some by those who don’t really speak english at all. Some long, some very short. But what they all share is beauty, passion and love. And after all isn’t that exactly the point? What I asked for?? All equally wonderful, and I refuse to choose between them.
I promise, this is not a cop out nor a refusal to reward the exceptional. I fully anticipated making the choice of the top five. But there is something about the quality, the spirit, the heart of every single piece that cannot be dismissed.
So, I give myself yet another enormous task, and that is a tshirt (MIGHT HAVE TO BE A COFFEE MUG), awarded for all entries. I need to figure out how to do that, how to ship to however many countries, and gather all the addresses, LOL. Surely, I am mad, but I am going to try.
It may take a bit of time, as I do it in between the dodging of raindrops, but if you will just bear with me, I will get it sorted…somehow. Bear with me.

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 I have to say, if you are looking for something to read over your morning coffee, these essays are wonderful!!

Claire tshirt_edited-3

I have made no secret of my love for Claire. She is the reason I read the books so many times. So I thought we should send her some love.

Write an essay about Claire. I will publish as many as I can, for as long as it makes sense.

I will send a Claire t.shirt that I design, to the top five essay writers.  ( I am judge and jury!)

Okay, give it some thought, dig deep. My kids will tell you that I am a pretty tough audience when it comes to essay writing! You don’t have to be Virginia Woolf or Toni Morrison, you just have to have passion.

 

Deadline…TBD.

If you have already joined this forum, your essays will automatically be posted. If you haven’t I need to approved them, and once I have done so, they will be available for everyone to read in the comments section.

***One additional note, as much as fun as it is to read, I have to respect Diana’s request about fan fic, or at least what I think her request is about it. Please only essays written in 21st century voice. Sorry***

 

 

144 thoughts on “CLAIRE BEAUCHAMP

  1. ChrisChris

    I absolutely love your blog! I was able to listen to your podcast (with your husband) about the costuming for Castle Leoch the other day. So fun! I searched for other podcasts there were available and that Ron mentioned at the Outlander Paley Fest panel. Have they been taken down? He did say there was talk about including them in the DVD commentary. I am so sad that I didn’t listen to them earlier!

    Thanks for your time and effort you put into this blog, it’s fascinating! It’s a fun weekend indulgence from my lesson planning for my 31 3rd graders.

      1. motherhenmotherhen

        “Sight for sore eyes, ye ken!”
        It was so great to welcome the road party back to Castle Leoch. I hurried my large frame across the muddy courtyard unable to contain me joy at their safe return, grabbing and hugging Murtaugh who lifted me off me feet despite the hefty size. I was stopped short in my tracks at the site of a beautiful dark haired lass who was wearing little more than a dirty white shift. Pale, thin, hair wild about, she was dirty herself and lookin’ none too happy about it. The lass looked at me with her large eyes, guardedly. “We found her wanderin’ about and Dougal said bring her along”. She immediately spoke to me about young Jamie, severely hurt on the trip; she put his healing first and we tended to him right away. I then took her under my wing, unaware that this would be the beginning of a great friendship. Claire Beauchamp, as she called herself, proved to be invaluable with a love and vast knowledge of the plants, no fear at hard work, and delicate manners reflecting a good family upbringing. She spoke with an air of intelligence; her gentle voice always soft, her manner humble; always grateful for what folks did for her; eager to learn and understand our ways, but willin’ to take a stand need be.
        Throughout her stay at Castle Leoch, I gained a breath of knowledge about this Claire. She was a strong lass, energetic like a new filly – daring the horsemen to tame her. She had strong opinions about right and wrong and wasn’t afraid to stand up to the men; but most of all, showed a deep sense of commitment to the Highlanders, mending their wounds, physicking in the surgery, untiring in her efforts to heal folk and ease their pain at any hour of day or night. T’was the least I could do to send two of the kitchen help down to help her tidy up the place and sweep away the cobwebs. Heard tell from Dougal how she tended Geordie after a boar gouged him – overcame her own fear in the woods to minister to his needs and take him to a peaceful place as he lay dying; Dougal never saw her the same way after that, ye ken?
        There was also the time she come up against Father Bain who was givin’ my nephew last rights after St. Nick caught him in his kirk playing with his wee friends, one who had passed right before. My sister was wrought with tears when Claire burst into my father’s house claimin’ she had a cure – that me nephew was “poisoned” and not “cursed” as Father Bain said. Well, after she insisted the second time and pleaded with me sister and I, I told her to tend to the boy and I saw and heard Father Bain threaten her, sayin’ she was the devil’s agent! She showed no care for herself, but hurried to wee Thomas, bringin’ him back to the land of the living with her kind ministering and vast knowledge! Me sister and I could not believe our eyes!
        I’ve see Claire with young Jaimi too. They’d make a good match – Jaimi left young without his ma and I hear tell, Claire left without her folks at a young age; how she came so girlish and kind, raised without the love of a mother; and a gruff uncle carrying her here ‘n’ there around the countryside – not the place for a lady! But it made her strong-willed and able to stand up for what she believes to be right and we’re all the better for it. That strength and caring would be served well on young Jaimi. I’ve seen him with the local lasses. They’re not what he’s lookin’ for; they hold no interest in his eyes; Aye, what he needs is a woman with spunk; someone who could hold his attention but not falter under his manly gaze; one who could stand up to him, help him become the man I know he can be, handle the rough Highlander lifestyle, raise a family and handle the many challenges of the Scottish Highland ways. Aye, Claire has that, you know. She’s a soft outer shell holdin’ a wild cat inside. Jaimi would do well to mind THAT, ye ken?

          1. motherhenmotherhen

            thanks, ladies! sorry I’m not aware of fan fic but have now received an education from a friend…was just being spontaneous…not always thinking like a 21st century woman, LOL! I rarely post, but read a good deal. Enjoying all the details from Terry about the show; enjoying the expertise from many audience participants as well!

          2. AvatarTerry Dresbach Post author

            No worries, it is a great piece, thank you for posting it. I just wanted to let everyone know that we have to be careful.
            Again, thanks for participating!

      2. AvatarSuperTam

        Mother Claire – The Very Essence of Womanhood

        Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall is a woman out of time, not only in the 18th century, but in the very time she was born. Raised in an unorthodox manner by a loving but eccentric uncle, Claire escaped the institutionalized gender roles imposed on women of her time. Claire is strong and opinionated, willing go face to face with men at a time when a woman was taught to defer to all men. She is willing to get her hands dirty facing the greatest horrors our world has to offer, and still remains able to smile, laugh and engage in loving care on an individual level.

        Our modern society has struggled with issues of equality, and female equality has been and still is and unresolved problem. Along the way, women have gained the right to vote, burned their bras, chosen careers over children, chosen children over careers, and in every case been told that what they, as an individual, has chosen is wrong. Being a woman is full of the judgement of others. “You chose a career? You must be hard and cold and unfeeling. A man with breasts.” “You chose to stay home? You must be vapid and uninteresting, and unable or unmotivated enough to have a real job.” These judgements come from other women as well as men. We still struggle to understand what it means to be a woman. We were told that we can have it all, then we were told that we could have it all, but just not at the same time. Get a career first, then have kids. Have kids before your eggs are too old, then worry about a career. But you have to be married. Don’t marry and spend your live enslaved to a man. Don’t marry too young but not too old. You must live together first. There is no right answer, but there seems to be no escape from the inescapable din of the judgement of others.

        In pondering all that it entails to be a woman of our modern world, we can look to Claire as an example of womanhood that we can all emulate. Does this mean we all must be like Claire? The answer is yes, and no. Claire’s greatest and most singular characteristic is that of nurturer. She is the very essence of womanhood. To nurture means to ‘care for and encourage the growth or development of someone or something, to tend, rear, raise, support or foster.’ Many of these words lend themselves to the belief that to be a nurturer is nothing more than to be a mother. And that being a mother is not all it’s cracked up to be, is not enough, or even that if you don’t have children, you are lacking as a woman.

        Claire understands that to be a nurturer is the best way she can realize her full potential as a woman. She is inclusive, always seeking to bring those on the outside in to her circle of love and warmth. In Voyager, when 15yo Marsali is on the ship, alone, afraid, and in need of motherly affection and advice, Claire does not stand on past circumstances and keep the girl at arms length, mindful of resentments and full of pride. Instead, Claire gathers her in and loves her, teaches her and helps her to grow as a woman.

        Claire is passionate. She has been born with the gift of healing, and we see over and over again that she cannot walk past a person in medical need. Time and again, she is belittled, humiliated or dismissed by men, who think she is overstepping her bounds. Her reaction is not bitterness, resentment or anger, at least not in the long term! She stands up for herself, her capabilities and her intent to use her gift, regardless of their opinions, but also maintains a warm and living affection for men in general.

        Claire is not particularly domestic. She doesn’t really cook, or clean or spend her days managing a household the way a woman of either century was expected to do. She doesn’t apologize for this, or try to change and become a person she is not. More importantly, however, is the fact that she doesn’t look down on women who do fill this traditional role. She learns from them. She teaches them, and she cares for them when her set of skills is in need. Sheri Dew, an author, publisher, CEO of Deseret Book Company, and also a religious leader, has stated, “Few of us will reach our potential without the nurturing of both the mother who bore us and the mothers who bear with us.” Claire understands that it is not just Brianna to whom she has an obligation to teach, lift and aid, but all the people within her sphere of influence. She does not shy away from this responsibility, but embraces it, and is loved all the more for it. It is no coincidence that more than one soul calls her ‘Mother Claire’. She understands that she does not need to be like all other women to be valuable, and that all other women do not need to be like her in order to have similar value.

        Claire is a wiser, humbler, more patient person at 50 than she was at 30. She has learned from Jamie, but also taught him. She has changed for him, and also asked him to change. This has given them a loving, vibrant, growing relationship that both challenges and fulfills them. She is willing to stand her ground, even if those around her never come around to her way of thinking, but is also able to recognize her own faults and flaws and apologize and make amends. She has been dealt immense trials and often not been provided with much needed answers. She has endured long and painful situations that seemingly have no end. But Claire never stops being true to herself. In each situation, she finds a way through, and finds a way to blossom rather than just exist.

        Yes, in order to fully realize what it means to be a woman, we all must be like Claire. We must be true to who we are, and not bow to the dictates of our communities. We must recognize our obligation to use our gifts and talents to strengthen and lift those around us. We must learn that we don’t always have the answers, and sometimes we must ask for forgiveness. We also must offer forgiveness, acceptance, and inclusion. We must be ourselves. Just as Claire never stops being and doing all that makes her ‘a rare woman’, we must have the strength to recognize that we are all rare women. We are all valuable and our strengths and talents are needed to make our communities whole and complete. We must be ourselves in order to be like Claire.

        Claire EB Fraser is the friend who, when I’m with her, doesn’t make wish I was more like her. She makes me wish I was more like me. And she offers me the strength to keep trying. May we all nurture one another in the name of true womanhood.

        1. AvatarRebecca Hoffman

          Very well said! “We also must offer forgiveness, acceptance, and inclusion.” One of my favorite traits of Claire is her ability to forgive. It’s not that she doesn’t get upset but she has the ability to forgive and move on. I’m still working on that.

      3. AvatarHolly Anderson

        Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall Fraser is a role model to every woman who’s been called a bitch. No, Claire is not a bitch. Claire is a strong, independent, caring, self assured woman. She stands up for herself, which was not popular in her present time, nor in her past time. She is the woman that refused to be who Diana Gabaldon initially saw. She stood up for herself and started bossing all those Scots around, which was not very well taken by then.

        Claire had two profound moments in her life that made her the woman she is throughout the book series. One, she was orphaned at age 5, and two, she went back 200 hundred years in time at age 27.

        If Claire had not been orphaned, she would not have had an unusual childhood, as she told Geillis Duncan. Claire would have been conformed to society of the 30s and 40s and, god forbid, been a 50s housewife. Not that there’s anything wrong with the 50s housewife. But, Clarie’s parents did die in an automobile accident. Therefore, she was raised by a bachelor, Uncle Lambert, who raised Claire to think, act independently, and see the world in all its’ peculiarities. Claire spent so much time with Uncle Lamb, and probably the men that worked for him, that she saw the world through a man’s eyes. She was able to experiment, and learn what makes men tick.

        Claire is more comfortable around men because this was her world. She learned from them, experienced life through them, and has more of an understanding of men than women. She saw men speak their mind. She saw Uncle Lamb persevere in his field of study without thought to his looks, or living conditions, home decor, etc. Through Uncle Lamb, she learned to have a passion for her calling. This all impacted how Claire saw the world.

        The second moment is Claire’s life that had a profound impact on her was going through the stones back 200 years. Because of Claire’s upbringing, she was able to survive. But, because of meeting Jamie Fraser, she became the woman she is.

        In her life with Frank, prior to going through the stones, Claire was a wife who wanted to make her husband happy. She met Frank when she was young and was drawn to him because he was older, a learned man, a man with a passion, like Uncle Lamb, and a man she was physically attracted. If she would have never met Jamie Fraser, Claire would never have found her true self. It would have been squashed because of the conventions of the time and what Frank eventually expected of her.

        By going back 200 years, she became a modern woman. She had to stand up for herself to try to get back to the stones. She found an ally in Jamie, who accepted her unconditionally. Because Jamie accepted her and loved her for who she is, she became solid in herself. She knew her identity. It was reflected in Jamie Fraser.

        When analyzing Claire and her back story, I soon realized that Claire has many masculine traits that makes her understand the world she is thrown into in 1743. It’s a world of men and she understands it. They don’t understand her, but she understands the way they think. And when I look at Jamie, he has a lot of feminine qualities that help him bond with Claire. He understands strong women and is not threatened. He helps Claire, inadvertently, become herself. And I think she does the same for him. He can let down his guard around Claire.

        So, who is Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall Fraser? She is the woman she taught Brianna to be. She doesn’t need a man to complete her. She chooses the man to be beside her. She is the Rosy Riveter who forged ahead. She is the 60s woman who fought to be heard. She is herself. And, I’m damn glad she’s around.

        As a last note, I am one of 4 girls in our family. There are 5 of us. I have one brother. My mom is from the era of Claire, not quite as old but still the 50s housewife. The one thing my mom instilled in all of us girls was to be strong, which we all are. And, my brother has an appreciation for strong women. To me, Claire is what my mother instilled in us. Be yourself, no matter what anyone says. Stay true to yourself.

      4. CeltictessCeltictess

        Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall… Fraser….. Randall….. Fraser – Oh, Forget it!

        Just Claire.

        What is it that fascinates us so about this character? Why do we love her with a fierce protectiveness that we would one of our living, breathing friends? Is it her Wit? She is witty, that is certain. She can stop an 18th century man in his tracks with just her words (poor things, never saw it coming). Is it her skill? She can lance a boil whilst suturing a boar wound while delivering a baby. Yes, she is skilled indeed. How many characters would be dead if it weren’t for our Claire: A LOT.

        Perhaps it’s her passion for her man. We all know that NOTHING would ever get in her way when it comes to Jamie. She will fiercely defend and protect him with as much passion as he would protect her. I mean she traveled through the stones TWICE for that hunk of Highland flesh, leaving her barely adult daughter behind, which we won’t even get in to because there are so many questions about that and the fact that YOU ARE LEAVING YOUR CHILD BEHIND…….sorry – back to the subject at hand – She really, really loves Jamie; as I know you do, too .

        If I had to sum Claire up in one word, it would be CAPABLE. She meets the challenge of any given situation head on and just…..molds it. She just says “Here we go again”, like it’s another Monday at the office and “Black? Or with cream”? She meets situations with charm, grace and skill and, most of the time (except for that whole kidnapping thing….Oh, and that unfortunate witch trial thingy), shapes it to the better. Capable indeed. I mean, she can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan AND never let Jamie forget he’s a man! Now that’s a capable woman, ya’ll.

        So what is it about this character that makes us love her so? It’s that we are all Claire….in our minds at least! Admit it. We all want to be the lovely, skilled, round arsed lass, even if means we are subjected to slicking our hair down with L’Heure Bleue, unabashedly cursing, whilst we brush the tangles out. Hey, it’s worth it, ye ken?

        Does she have faul – er, weaknesses? Of course; she has been known to curse like a drunken sailor, not to mention drink like a drunken sailor. And her face is like glass, showing everything she is feeling on the surface, which can’t be good in certain situations…”Am I going to die, lass”?

        But – She has gotten us through the toughest times in our lives. She’s never failed us. She is always there; strong, fierce, passionate…..capable. Capable of making us love her so very much. She has been a part of me since 1991. She has been there when I was scared and sad and in mourning and joyous. Through death and life and marriage and divorce (probably because he didn’t live up to Jamie, but I won’t ruin the sad moment here) .

        I don’t want to think about how this thing will end. I know one thing; Diana will do our Claire justice. And she will always be there, on the page – and in every one of our hearts forever.

      5. StepherRose26StepherRose26

        Claire and I: An Introspective Comparison in Admiration

        I have been taught how to think logically and analytically, in order to break apart a set theory and apply it to a new framework of knowledge. I can tell you all about regulatory policies that relate to air pollution and EPA guidelines; but something that I have not had the luxury of doing for a very long time, is the autonomy to write with emotion or creativity. Education has been my number one priority for the past eight years; like a security blanket, which has allowed me to hide from evolving into a fully independent adult. One of the essential features in my life has been books from every type of genre; I have never been able to resist the allure of a wonderful story. Unfortunately, when I encountered the Outlander Series for the first time, I honestly did not have the time or desire to pick up the first book. Between finishing up a master’s degree, thesis research, and working, I wanted mindless entertainment. Perhaps, it was not the right time for me to read this series; undoubtedly, it was a foolish mistake that I have since rectified. Although Outlander was originally written in 1991, when I was only three years old, it has characters that display vital elements of humanity; the good, bad, and shades of gray. The irrationality of humans; comprehension of beauty that lies within imperfection; and how people aim to live their lives in a way that is good, can be subjective. I feel Diana Gabaldon expresses these points very well throughout the series. With those points in mind, this leads towards a core discussion of an extremely strong and complex character: Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall Fraser.
        I tend to examine and connect with characters that I can identify with and understand on an emotional/personal level. For me, that would be Claire. Even though she attempts to fit into her time period of the 1940s, she seems to suffer several disconnects. From the grueling experience of being a nurse during the world’s most bloody war, to self-admonition of her lack of domesticity, Claire is neither a man’s ideal or what women during that time period, would aspire to be. Individually though, both Frank and Jamie love her deeply and uniquely. Claire does not have to redeem her worth through a man, which is refreshing to read about. It also provides me with the understanding that being alone or with someone does not automatically equal happiness; Claire is a remarkable woman because she is able to fight her battles and live with or without a man. To me, this signifies an awareness of self-identity that I am still trying to achieve. The character of Claire inspires me to be strong even when I feel almost hopeless.
        When Claire goes back in time, she feels the loss of Frank and becomes a foreigner in a land, that just the day before, was comfortable and normal to her. I can definitely relate to certain emotions and experiences that Claire has during this time. I have always felt apart from most of the people in my life, in one way or another. Just as suddenly as I feel the warmth of belonging or being able to identify with friends and family, it seems to disappear. Additionally, as a twenty-something female in the 21st Century, having the opportunity to increase my education with a master’s degree is still considered a high achievement. Besides the financial debt that I have taken on, within my state the amount of females attaining a bachelors degree or higher is 26.1%, while for males, it is 25.5% (U.S. Census Data). The fact that it is not uncommon or audacious for females to attain higher education (if they choose), connects me to how Claire always finds a way to employ her mind and body into being useful. While arguments could be stated about the traditional duties of males versus females, I see Claire as an individual who works hard and tries to do well by people, because she is a genuinely good person. She works as a healer at Castle Leoch; she helps Mrs. Fitz in the kitchens; she works and heals at Lallybroch with Jenny, and during the second book, Claire is at the Hospital les Anges, striving to care and help others. I can relate to the want of being a useful and helpful person in this world. I want to assist in the preservation and care for the environment, which is why I have studied environmental policy for the past seven years. Within this context, Claire exemplifies a person who strives to simply help those in need, which is one reason why I have so much respect for her.
        When I read Outlander, it immediately became personal for me, because I was able to see Claire’s idiosyncrasies and insecurities, as well as her strength and humor for life. I can look at Claire and see an individual who could be my friend, sister, or mentor. There is simplicity in the life she ultimately chose for herself, which is something I think I would struggle with. Being a materialistic person is not necessarily a negative thing, but it is a weakness. Claire’s character challenges me to be better; to question myself concerning how I treat others and how I want to live my life. I identify best with her as a younger woman because that is the part of life I am living at the moment. Even though Claire has had more life experience than I have, she helps me expose the weaknesses of my character. Being able to recognize those attributes and accept them, as well as the trying to change, is a never-ending journey. There are so many adjectives for Claire: remarkable, caring, patient, brave. I hold hope that one day I can emulate half of these traits. Also, the intensity with which she loves Jamie has given me a standard for the type of man I want/need in my life. Comparing and contrasting myself to Claire allows me to be vulnerable, and introspective. Mixing positive and negative traits of behavior and personality from each of us, give me hope and increases the esteem that hold for myself. Claire is an educated, intelligent, kind, woman with pride, stubbornness, and mild vanity. Her imperfections are beautiful, just as mine are. So I extend my gratitude to the character of Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall Fraser for being who she is, and to Diana Gabaldon, for creating her.

        (These are my personal opinions, no offense is meant to anyone, thanks!) Steph Suchecki

      6. Avatarbwick

        A Retrospective from the Ridge
        Her name. It tells you everything; and yet nothing. Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall Fraser (Randall Fraser).
        Where to begin…Her life has taken a twisting path that could not have been imagined, less planned. A few truths woven through like wool. Sometimes twisted or frayed but yet resiliently woven into the essence of who she is, or will be, or was.
        The truths are Family and Loyalty , shadowed by betrayal and conflict; hopeful of forgiveness. Forgiveness, if not from others then forgiveness of self. Understanding limited choices is not the same as forgiveness.
        Pick any person in her life and catalogue the conflicts and betrayals of each. For example Dougal personifies conflict and betrayal. His betrayals include his brother, his wife, his nephew, his lovers and their children. What are his loyalties?
        Claire has betrayed everything important in her life. She betrays her country, Frank, then Jaime, and Black Jack with his knowing consent. She is betrayed by Jaime, Jenny, Laoghaire, Frank, abused by Black Jack and others.
        Yet in the face of all of this, the story continues. Why? Is it Love? Certainly Jaime is the love she needs to thrive. Frank is the love that sustains her. And then there is Lord John who loves and sustains them all. His love for Jaime is unconditional, extends to his whole family and yet is always on the periphery. It must be it’s own reward.
        So from the Ridge we can peruse the past at leisure and wonder what is next. From the ridge to the West, we see the trail of tears. To the South, we see a thriving economy and culture built on Slavery. To the North and East, we see wars, one after the other. To the North we see Canada, with its French influence that has given us succor time and again in the past. So where?
        From a story that began with an idea of a man in a kilt, the author must decide. Will this all turn out to be a daydream in an incense stupor of a long service in church? On the ridge, we are left to ponder.

      7. AvatarLoriS

        I was raised by television. Both my parents worked, and when they weren’t working they were arguing, and when they weren’t arguing, well, who knows where dad was, but mom was crying. Mom is not a modern woman. She still doesn’t think a woman should be President. She thinks we women should defer to “our men,” If we have one. If we don’t, well, more’s the pity. So, my sisters and I spent a lot of time growing up with the nanny. TV. I think I might be a criminal if Charles Ingalls hadn’t shown me how to behave while I watched Little House On The Prairie. I remember when Oh Mighty Isis was a beautiful superhero, before the name was perverted. I adored The Bionic Woman. But perhaps forward for the time, these ladies still took orders from men. Jamie Summers had Oscar Goldman and if Steve Austin came for a visit, we knew who was in charge. We did have Uhura on the Enterprise, but she firmly in the backseat.

        As a young lady I didn’t know what a feminist was, and I certainly wasn’t exposed to any real life feminists. I suppose I came upon my outrage the good old fashioned way – by experience. But it sure would have been nice to have some backup. That’s why I’m so grateful for writers like Diana and characters like Claire.

        Did someone like Claire exist in the 1940s? I don’t find that hard to believe now, because I know Claires existed before then, in real life, in the form of Susan B. Anthony, the Parkhursts, Lucretia Mott, Sojourner Truth, and so many more brave women. But if they are even mentioned in history class, blink and you’ll miss it. And when they would get a mention it was difficult to imagine these wonderful women as actual people with actual lives. It was and is such a delight and relief to see someone as fleshed out and three dimensional as our Claire.

        Everything about Claire is important: She’s got a career, she was in a war (wow!), she grew up all over the world, she embraces her sexuality and isn’t shy or embarrassed to ask for what she wants and needs. THAT, sadly, is still novel today. A woman like that is way too often the “slut” or “troubled” woman. Not Claire. She spoke up for herself; she didn’t accept second place status. It wasn’t her unabashed cursing, although her unfiltered comments displayed a refreshing lack of concern about how the men around her viewed her, she was going to be herself, damn it. What made Claire so important to me was that her many troubles now eight books in, never stopped her. She had a problem. She often had ONLY herself to rely on, and she looked for a solution. She made plans, she took risks, and sometimes failed. But she’d try again.

        None of that, though, blew my mind and changed my thinking the way Claire did in Voyager. When I started the series I was a young woman in my 20s, just like Claire. But then suddenly – Claire is OLD! My 20something self had a hard time believing the going on 50 Claire could still be so strong and sure and passionate! But I read on, and Claire taught me lesson after lesson about viewing the world and the people in it complexly.

        Certainly there were moments where she broke down. There were tears. And thank goodness for those times, because I break down sometimes and I cry. That doesn’t have to equal weakness or surrender. Claire isn’t a caricature, she’s believable. She’s a hero in her own life that shows us that we can be one too.

        Now, my five nieces, all under the age of 11, aren’t going to start off with Outlander. Thank goodness they are growing up with Hermione, and Buffy, and OK, Katniss. But one day they will also meet Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall Fraser, because she’s got things to teach them, and I am grateful they will have an adult role model that they can find right on their nightstands whenever they need a lift.

        1. AvatarRebecca Hoffman

          I too am awaiting the moment when I can introduce my girls to Claire. For now Hermoine, Katniss, and Tris are hanging out on their nightstands. Loved your writing.

  2. AvatarPam Mc

    Just to let you know, that I love the design of the T-shirt. Best one I have seen so far. Of course, when a professional designs one, it would be the best. Unfortunately, I was never good at writing an essay, so that leaves out of the running. Good luck, everyone!!!!

  3. AvatarKarenC

    I’m a pretty private person, but Terry, I’m sharing my story with you. You inspired me, in turn, I hope it inspires someone else.

    WHY DO I FIND CLAIRE SUCH AN APPEALING CHARACTER?

    First some background, several years ago, I was in the middle to a firestorm of real life problems. I work as a free-lance designer. The company where I had worked for 9 years was coming apart at the seams. My designs represented over half of their sales and leaving would hit my income hard. It didn’t matter, I had to leave. In the middle of leaving, they decided to create something that looked my best-selling design, so now I had to consider getting a lawyer. (Yes, I had a contract, it didn’t matter.)

    The company I moved to was headed by a narcissistic/sociopath, who hide it well. He led me along until he got many good designs from me, paid me just enough to keep the here. He kept stringing me along and after a year of non-payment, I had to leave there. Lawyer #2 enters the picture, as I tried and get my money from this company.

    So now, I’m several years without the income I need, two companies making money off my designs, I’ve got lawyer bills and no resolution, I was getting desperate. Everywhere I turned; there was a business problem I could not fix.

    Another part of my job is traveling around the U.S., teaching and lecturing. In the midst of the non-payment issues and while in another state, my rental car was broken into. All my lecture/class material was stolen. Years of work, the other source of my income was now gone in a split second.

    I have to re-create my work and fast! As I tried to re-focus and start to recreating my work, my studio flooded. A pipe burst overnight. As I walked into my studio, still shaking from the theft, I look up to find water pouring out of the ceiling light fixtures. Next the ceiling collapses. Now I have no samples, no money, no studio, within in the space of a week. I’m a pretty strong person, but this about did me in.

    Enter Outlander. . .. Now, how exactly does Claire fit into the background I just gave? As I read Claire’s story, I, like her, saw a strong woman, in the midst of difficult circumstances beyond her control. As I read, I recognized that I, like Claire, could get thought whatever was happening. I had the strength to do it. I knew I did, but it was being sorely tested.

    I saw the contracts between strength and weakness in the scene at the cottage, where Claire fixes Jamie’s shoulder. Weakness illustrated by the woman, dressed in rags, cowering in the corner. (At the moment, this is exactly how I felt.) Strength illustrated by Claire; standing up to Dougal, chin raised, face defiant, while inside she was shaking. (There I was inside, shattered, but standing up to the problems. They would NOT defeat me.)

    I saw Claire adapting to her circumstances. (I could do that. I could fight to recreate my work, fight to get my money, adapt when and where I needed to.)
    I saw Claire’s intelligence, wit, not putting up with nonsense. I also saw her compassion and her work as a healer.

    I continued to listen to Outlander and Claire’s story gave me encouragement. (I kept working, struggling to recreate my stolen work, while my husband, bless him, fixed the leak, put up dry wall and painted.) In Claire, I saw a strong, smart woman who did not live a perfect life, but did not give up. If Claire face the 18th century, I could face the 21st.

    I don’t want to leave the impression without Claire I could not overcome obstacles. Totally the opposite, her strength reinforced the strength I already had.

    When Claire stood up to Black Jack, I knew I also could stand up to the sociopath owner who had stolen intellectual property from me.

    I related to the relationship between Claire and Jamie, both strong willed, intelligent people. Jamie let Claire be herself. He did not ask her to be something she wasn’t.
    She did not mold herself to fit “his” idea of a perfect wife. She was “perfect” because he loved her as she was. She did the same, loving Jamie as he was.

    They had flaws, but loved each other, respected each other for the people there were. I was fortunate to find a man like that, loving me for who I was and I felt the same way about him. (We have been together since we were 16, married 37 years.)

    Today, Outlander has grown past the book. Many Outlander fans have connected through Social Media. I unfortunately have seen a great deal of hurt caused by harsh words, snarky comments said to be funny, but are really hurtful. Grown women verbally attacking each other in one tweet, yet in the very next tweet, sweetly talking to a cast or crew member. . At times I just shake my head. (Thankfully, this is a very small number. Sadly, they are vocal..)

    HOW does this relate to Claire? I think, perhaps, these women think strength such as we see in Claire equals harshness. These women may believe standing up for yourself equals bossiness and putting other women down.

    Yes, Claire was strong, but standing up for yourself NEVER means tearing someone else down. When you do this, you bring everyone down. Claire was strong; she did not become stronger by making someone weaker.

    Being strong does not mean always having to be right. In reality, it is the stronger person who is willing to say they were wrong, willing to learn, willing to have an open mind.

    Yes, Claire can be a blurter, putting her foot in her mouth. However, she has the intelligence to take a step back, listen to reason and learn from her mistakes. She can say she was wrong and say I’m sorry.

    In closing, I wish I could tell you all worked out. Yes, my studio was fixed and over months, I re-created my samples. However, I never had a resolution, never was paid the money owed me and in the end, I had a big stack of legal bills, with nothing to show for it.

    I didn’t let it stop me. I battled forward and in doing so, other opportunities opened up to me. Sometimes that light at the end of the tunnel isn’t an oncoming train, but really is a glimmer of hope.

    In real life things are messy, don’t go our way. I’ve found it is best to try and get past it. To not let difficult circumstances determine my future. I’d rather live with joy and love, finding the beauty in everyday life.

    Yes, people can hurt us, but only we can determine how we react to that hurt. I see that in Claire’s story. I see that in my story.

      1. AvatarKarenC

        Terry, you are welcome.

        I also envisioned Jamie, Dougal and the rest of the Clan, dirks drawn, getting my money for me. Got to tell you, that gave me a giggle and got me through more than one difficult day.

        1. Stormy PetersonStormy Peterson

          Love this:
          “Weakness illustrated by the woman, dressed in rags, cowering in the corner. (At the moment, this is exactly how I felt.) Strength illustrated by Claire; standing up to Dougal, chin raised, face defiant, while inside she was shaking. (There I was inside, shattered, but standing up to the problems. They would NOT defeat me.)”
          Great post, Karen!

        2. kladislauskladislaus

          Karen,

          You are one of the treasures that have come out of Outlander for me. Thank you for sharing your story, it was very moving.

          Maybe we’ll get the gang together one more time for another big Outlander event in the future. We sure have some great memories from our Outlander experiences though, don’t we?

          Kathleen

    1. AvatarRebecca Hoffman

      “In reality, it is the stronger person who is willing to say they were wrong, willing to learn, willing to have an open mind.” There are so many lines in here that I love! Thank you for sharing.

    2. AvatarGWanner

      I enjoyed your entry! I especially liked “Sometimes that light at the end of the tunnel isn’t an oncoming train, but really is a glimmer of hope.” I wonder how many of us are always expecting the train?

  4. Avatarkelsocrusher

    Great first entry!! Good luck to you Karen! & kudos for having the cajones to put it all on the line about yourself -I think that’s brave-just like Claire!

    Best wishes -Jill

  5. AvatarIvana

    My first comment is still awaiting a moseration but I’ll add one more, a bit longer this time. Sorry, if the grammer is not immaculate but English is my second language. 🙂

    CLAIRE BEAUCHAMP:

    When it comes to the phenomenal woman, through whichever gate of time she passed, there is no era, a ruler or a man who can discourage her fearless determination and break her wondrous spirit.

  6. rhonnie.b@xtra.co.nzrhonnie.b@xtra.co.nz

    Claire

    What do I love aboutClaire? Well this is both hard and easy as for now, in my mind Claire’s character is intrinsically linked with Caitriona’s portrayal of her and there are quite subtle differences as to the book character and the on screen character. Book Claire in my mind is more wilful, tougher and slightly disengaged than Caitriona’s portrayal. Still it’s hard to separate the characters because of how Claire has been bought to life in front of my eyes.

    Claire has an inner strength that sees her through some of the worst scenario’s a woman can face and uses the experiences to strengthen her resolve and go forward. Her absolute love and sacrifice for Jamie and her family are worthy of emulation but at the same time she is so stubborn she can be blind to the consequences of her actions. I love how she is not ‘The Perfect Woman’ and that her faults are almost as endearing as her virtues.

    Her ability to remove herself from outside influences and to look inside herself for truth and healing brings me to tears at times. If only we all had that ability, think of the savings on medical bills. Caitriona’s portrayal is a softer Claire with a little more vulnerability than I see in book Claire but still with a strength of character that come to life on screen.

    I would love to be a Claire personality type (without the glass face) and fervently hope I get to continue both reading and watching Claire’s adventures into the future.

  7. Avatarmarylandmama

    I enjoy Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser because she gets under my skin. She is an intelligent, capable, and extremely memorable character who both inspires and vexes me. Claire loves fiercely, yet she sometimes struggles with making connections with others. She is a woman of profound intellect and empathy, yet she reacts physically and sometimes violently when confronted with an emotionally charged situation. She knows her way around a battlefield, a bedroom, and a workplace, but she also burns dinner and forgets about the babysitter. She runs away. She charges forward. She nurtures, and she cuts.

    Claire knows how to be independent, and she has learned from Jamie and Bree how to truly love without reservation, but such love was hard won and rare, which makes it all the more precious to her. She can be unreasonable and jealous. She hid chocolate from her child (which in my mind can be an admirable trait.) Yet with all these competing traits, her most powerful attribute is that she perseveres. She gets the job done, and she will pay the emotional toll when necessary, but she gets it done. She is able to adapt, survive, and even excel in the most challenging of situations, but never without a cost. This ability to survive, knowing that each experience will change her, is powerful to witness.

    Claire is not a heroine, and that is exactly why I admire her. She is a complex, flawed, impressive woman, and we need more Claires in our world.

  8. auntiemameauntiemame

    Here is my essay on Claire; it’s lengthy.

    A Look at Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall Fraser

    When the book of Genesis was written, the concept of women was that of a helpmate, a submissive extension of the male master, who would provide solace, children, and domestic comfort while the man would provide protection and guidance. That concept has not changed significantly in many cultures in the 21st century, especially in those eastern countries where religion plays an active part in political and cultural dynamics, and until the 20th century, western countries still maintained a patriarchal standard of social behavior. The change in the attitude toward women began in Europe and North America when devastating wars, particularly World War I and World War II, decimated the male population and women were needed to provide services vacated by men who were fighting, injured or killed.

    Such services were largely a continuation of the original role of helpmate: providing solace, child care, and domestic comfort through professional nursing, teaching children, physical labor in manufacturing, and domestic skills of cooking and cleaning. The difference in attitude toward women came through the recognition that women could be courageous, emotionally strong and independent, skilled in disciplines once thought suitable only for men, and formidable in their ability to achieve their goals.

    Enter Claire Randall, a English woman who possesses an inordinate amount of courage. Claire had the courage not only to leave her husband to use her nursing skills, but also to serve on the frontline of battle. She had the courage to deal with potentially mortal wounds and demand the same performance from others. When she found herself in a different world after falling through the stones at Craig Na Dun, she had the courage to defend herself against Jonathan Randall, to negotiate a return to Inverness from Colum McKenzie, and rebuff the advances of Dougal McKenzie, clan war chieftain. She also had the courage to go against Father Bain in saving the life of a child. After she is saved from the rapacious Black Jack, Jamie gives her the chance to return to her husband and her world of 1945, but she has the courage to forego the comforts of the 20th century to stay with Jamie in a dangerous world. And when Jamie is imprisoned at Wentworth, she doesn’t hesitate to attempt his rescue. Her willingness to act in the face of danger and say what she believes is remarkable for a woman in either 1743 or 1945.

    Claire is a woman who uses her intelligence to survive. When she comes to acknowledge that she is in the 18th century, she must form a plan to escape. She is constantly plotting to return to Inverness and the stones so she can travel back to her husband, Frank Randall. She uses her medical skills to help the people of Castle Leoch and the village in an effort to impress Colum and earn her release from his captivity. But she must use her common sense as well as her education. When she realizes that she is in an alien world of the past, she also recognizes that ignorance and intolerance are part of the highland culture. Only the wealthy have formal educations, which may be little more than reading and writing, and the ability to move beyond their immediate world.; the church holds powerful control over all of the social classes. Superstition, belief in magic, and fear of the devil is evident in Colum’s belief that the devil caused his malformed legs. All at Castle Leoch believe that the devil roams in the ruins of the “Black Kirk,” that the devil, “Old Nick,” makes children sick, that taking a hand or nailing an ear can save a soul, that leaving a sick child on a mountain to die will provide a healthy child,. Geillis perpetuates the notion of “magic” with potions and odorous plants. Because Claire recognizes that superstition is stronger than truth, she can not explain where she came from, who she is, or why she is different. She must adapt to her circumstances until she can affect her escape. The one thing she doesn’t realize is the degree of danger from many people: Colum, Dougal, Father Bain, Laoghaire, Black Jack, the Duke of Sandringham and the villagers.

    In the modern world Claire did not face dangers from individuals, only the dangers of battle zones where death was an impersonal fact. Volunteering to serve in a dangerous place and living independent of her husband, she developed a sense of confidence in her medical ability. Serving under stress also developed her vocal expressions so that she was accustomed to speaking her mind and using “salty” language that was not customary for women. Her favorite expression, “Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ,” is not only foreign to the ears of highlanders, but also somewhat sacrireligious. When Rupert repeats the teaching of St. Paul in regard to women, she is quick to tell him what St. Paul can do. Later, she calls Jamie a sadist, and uses the “f” word to describe him. She finds it amusing that he doesn’t know these words, but she is also embarrassed that she must explain their meanings.

    Her confidence also extends to her approach to sex. She has a very strong libido and is uninhibited when it comes to sexual behavior. While she is circumspect in terms of social behavior, her relationship with her husband Frank in 1945 and with Jamie in 1743 is very loving and open to sexual expression. She is not afraid or repulsed by foreplay and intercourse. She enjoys it and wants it, unlike most women, according to Rupert, Murtagh, and Ned. Claire is not afraid to allow herself to be sexually aroused with the man she loves and she is often the instigator of intimacy with both men.

    Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser is a unique character who embodies all the traits of a strong, modern woman. Diana Gabaldon created a woman who has courage, intelligence, and confidence. . .a woman who loves life and lives to love others.

  9. Avatarchatty_cath

    Claire Beauchamp: My Soul Sister?

    I didn’t like Claire at first. She doesn’t seem particularly interested in Frank’s genealogical research. She sees tea-leaf reading as brief entertainment. She’s somewhat amused with the quirks and customs of the people of Inverness. And even though she agreed to the location of their second honeymoon, I felt like she would have been open to a different location– perhaps a place that didn’t have herring. Bright spots were learning more about the medicinal uses of plants and spending time with her husband — separated from for years by a war. So at the end of chapter one, I didn’t like Claire Beauchamp Randall. Or so I thought.

    When Claire travels through the stones, I realized why I reacted to her the way I did. She’s like me. Claire and I share the proverbial eye roll. Her reactions to her situations are my reactions. She wants to go home. She misses her husband desperately. It isn’t an adventure for her. It’s a nightmare.

    Claire is an authentic woman. She isn’t the heroine of a bodice-ripper novel. She is neither victim nor perpetrator. She does what she needs to do, but agonizes over the choices she has to make. She is living as a 20th century woman in an 18th century world and she adapts, but never loses the core of who she is. I love that about her.

    Many times I found myself thinking, “Oh Claire, not good to say that. Not a good time to be outspoken.” I didn’t want her to stop being the things I liked about her, but I wanted her to go about it the right way. But what is the right way when faced with imminent death or imprisonment? Life is complicated and messy and Claire Beauchamp is the personification of that.

    She’s smart, brave, stubborn, outspoken, compassionate, inquisitive, and she’s respectful of the friends and enemies she makes while trapped in a different time – notice, I say trapped. She was trapped in circumstances beyond her control. How many of us find ourselves in similar situations? Certainly not a different century, but most certainly that feeling of loss of control over our destinies has permeated one or more facets of our lives as women.

    In the end Claire was able to decide her destiny. She made her choice. Isn’t that the wish of women everywhere? To be the ones who decide our own destinies? To make the choices that best support our own situations – our own ‘travels through the stones” so to speak.

    I am Claire Beauchamp. You are Claire Beauchamp. Every woman who gets up every day, does what needs to be done, sometimes succeeds, sometimes fails is Claire Beauchamp. We just don’t have to straddle two centuries trying to do that. Thank you Claire for annoying me at first — because I love you now.

  10. KellyKelly

    What’s NOT to love about Claire?

    Well, there are the adjectives of course, if one wanted to be simple about it:

    Loving.
    Feisty.
    Confident.
    Intelligent.
    Adaptable.

    A thesaurus would be handy right about now but I won’t belabor the point: Claire is an admirable woman in the most basic of terms. But Claire should not be so summarily stated, so here’s the expanded version…

    Love: Claire has the capacity for love, deep soul felt love. Vulnerable yet empowering, passionate yet enlightening, demanding yet forgiving. She has found her equal, loves her equal – without boundaries. She love’s another enough to allow them to become their whole being while in the same breath, becoming whole herself. Personally, I find that concept to be the epitome of purpose.

    Feisty: She does not allow herself to be overcome. Not by men or circumstance, not by purpose and not by role. She’s willing to give as good as she gets, damn the consequence. This leads us directly to…

    Confident: One cannot have one without the other, or at least not convincingly. And Claire has this in spades. Enviably so. It is a strong woman that has confidence in herself to be so bold as to hold her own in the company of men when a woman’s place is most certainly not at the forefront, but instead more bent towards servitude and placating men’s whims. Her confidences is not overpowering. It’s the quiet sort, absent of bravado. She has belief in herself. THAT – that is confidence.

    Intelligent: Thinking beyond “just” the skill of nursing, Claire is a problem solver. She can assess a circumstance and use critical thinking to define a process to reason through it, to find a beneficial outcome. She relies on herself to work through her problems. She is a thinking woman, capable and willing to work hard to find answers. Claire’s intelligence is one of her most beautiful features.

    Adaptable: Toss most of us through some stones and back 200 or so years and it’s fair to reason that many of us would not handle it quite so gracefully (though we’d likely have a tamer coiffure for Mrs. Fitz to rake through post nap time). Claire is quick thinking, astute and able to assess the scene with nothing more than an expressive face to show for it. She does not dally too long in the mess of things – but instead makes plans to endure it, if not at the very least survive it. Frankly, adaptability is one of Claire’s traits that I admire most, for it is a combination of so many of the other things that make her who she is.

    Characters can be created in any way the creator – whether it by author, screenwriters, directors etc., please, and they do. But so rarely, it seems, do they create characters that are so enviable beyond the superficial. Claire is more than strong. She is more than intelligent. She is more than beautiful. She is more than courageous… Claire is enviable. A woman to emulate – fictional or no.

    Jamie is oft described as the “king of men”, and while I do not disagree in the least, why stop at the mortality of royalty? Is Claire not the goddess of women?

  11. peggyvanslppeggyvanslp

    You meet people in your life who make a mark on you. The English teacher who opens up the hidden world of Shakespeare, the student who makes a comment that hits home, the sibling who opens your eyes with a spot-on remark, the passerby who comments on your smile. These are people you can see with your eyes, and you can return the favour with a smile, frown, or comment.
    There are other people, no less real, to whom you can’t reply, give a toast, or return a look. Our fictional friend and confidante, Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall Fraser, is one of those people. She has been living with me for years, telling me her thoughts and confiding her fears.
    Claire has insight. With an awareness of her surroundings, thoughtfully put on the page by her biographer, she relates the sights, smells, and sensations that populate her environment. Inns, moors, prisons, cabins (both on- and off-land), and battlefields are not just places, but part and parcel of her experience of life. She watches the people around her with an eye to their thoughts, background, and experiences and manages to intuit their thoughts and feelings. If only I could do the same. She takes the time to look and listen. She takes a few moments to draw conclusions, knowing that, while quick action is sometimes needed, a clear head makes better choices.
    Claire has focus. Once she sets her mind to it, she does what is necessary to move mountains and chip away at problems. I loved when she came back to find Jamie shot and recovering on the cot in Voyager. She puts aside her hurt and anger and listens to his story. She tries to keep an open mind, knowing that her respect and love for him merits a focus on what he has to say and not on her own emotions.
    Claire has tenacity. She keeps moving forward with her dreams, her vocation, and her dedication to her craft. Whatever comes along, she puts her effort into that, discards what doesn’t support her (goodbye, university wives!), and cherishes what helps her along.
    Real or fiction, does it matter? When you meet and spend years with a character who demonstrates such traits, you start to consider your own and challenge yourself to be better. Thank you, Claire E.B.R. Fraser…and you, too, Diana. Maybe I can be one of those people who leave a mark on someone else.

  12. AvatarDebbie Dake

    My Claire ~

    I imagine her as a child, with Uncle Lamb. That’s the “nurture” source of her strength, the “nature” part just seems innate. I picture her learning independence, common sense, practicality, a love of knowledge, curiosity, and courage in the face of the unknown, all alongside someone who was not the traditional parent figure. Who would she be without that experience, without him?

    I love her work ethic. She shirks nothing (well, maybe laundry if she can get away with it). She will do what needs to be done no matter the cost, and is as strong as she needs to be.

    I love her honesty even though it makes her so readable to anyone who watches her face.

    I love her sexuality. She’s always an adventurous and happy partner, even while she ages. There’s only one instance I remember when she really wasn’t in the mood but Jamie was, and she responded just like the rest of us have, with impatience and annoyance. But she was there for him. I love that she can be a selfish lover.

    I love her intelligence. More than that, she thinks clearly in the most stressful situations. I would want her in my corner. Who wouldn’t?

    She is so strong, physically, mentally, emotionally. Claire is strong enough to show her weaknesses and not be cowed by them. Are there real people who are as strong as she is? I hope so. I think so. I want to be one of them.

  13. Avatarwildwillowheart

    Claire Beauchamp Nurse/Doctor Time Traveler
    A sharped tongue beauty with a heart of grace , possessing intellectual charm equal to any man . Not quite the comic book super heroin but close .Perfectly flawed and relatable is she.
    With an understanding just how fragile humans are, Claire is forced to walk a path that sacrifices every sense of entitlement to find her true home is her inner strength . It is what drew me to this character who faces her protagonist , standing on the edge , balancing precariously between what she perceives as honorable or what her heart is leading her to .

  14. Avataremiller1122

    Dear Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall Fraser:

    We met 20 plus years ago in a small bookstore in Montgomeryville, PA. I am not sure you will remember. I walked in the store, and you were on the display in the front. I picked up the book, read the synopsis, and knew I wanted to meet you and have a lifelong friendship. I turned and walked to counter the Sales Clerk commented “what a great read my choice was”, and how I will “love” the heroine and the hero was just a “lucky extra.”

    When I got home, I opened the book, started to read the book, and knew almost instantaneously I would follow your story wherever, whenever, you ended up. I also knew I wanted to see your story, not just read your story.

    You are like no other heroine I have read before. You are courageous, fearless, adaptable, and tireless and last but not least a brilliant woman. You are also real. You landed in an alien time, in an alien place. You learned to adapt, yet still stayed true to yourself. Sometimes forgetting to keep your mouth shut. You met the love of your life and knew he was the one. Your life wasn’t perfect, but it was the life you were meant to have, not the life you left behind.

    When the first book ended, I counted the days until the next book arrived in my little bookstore. I couldn’t wait to find out what kind of adventures, you were going to experience and how you were going get through them with the same grace and grit I read in the first book. My admiration for you Claire has continued to grow with each book and I am excited to see all the books come to life on the screen.

    You have raised a wonderfully brilliant daughter, and I am looking forward to reading more of your and her adventures.

    Claire many of us who continue to admire you over the last 20 odd years were close to the same age as you were when you went through the stones. We have grown up with you; each of us going through our life experiences at the same time you were. Most of us would have crumbled and likely died if we had gone through the stones instead of you. You, however, have shown us with each experience you have had no matter where you come from or where end up you can survive and have a happy and fulfilling life.

    Thank you for taking us on this odyssey you call life. Thank you for being a positive role model to a group of women who need to meet you at a particular time in our lives.

    Thank you for bringing Jamie, Dougal, Colum, Brianna “Ellen”, Mrs Fitz, Frank, Joe, Fergus, Ian, Jenny, Ian and Roger just to name a few of my favorite characters into my life.

    Much love your friend forever.
    Ellen

  15. Katie (@bunnums)Katie (@bunnums)

    I post this without having read any of the other responses because I didn’t want my gut reactions to be tempered by what others have to say. There are as many reactions to Claire as there are individuals reading these books! And that’s something to be celebrated and honored.

    Claire Beachamp

    In many ways, I’m nothing like Claire. I think long and hard before I say anything. I mull things over and contemplate to the point of taking way too long to say things that should probably be said. I bite my tongue even when I shouldn’t. I’m overly considerate of other people’s feelings and points of view. I always give everyone the benefit of the doubt and trust that they know what they’re doing until they prove unequivocally that they don’t. I keep my emotions in check, am not very demonstrative (except with my kids) and am exceptionally even keeled. I mean, I had brain surgery and was completely at peace going into it!

    There are also some traits I believe Claire and I share. I can be as stubborn as a rock myself (as can my husband, which has created some… um… interesting situations!). I’m pretty bright and can adapt and absorb new information and situations quickly.

    I don’t want to be Claire and, quite frankly, I wouldn’t want to be married to Jamie. He and I would not get along as a couple. I love reading about Claire and Jamie, because they clearly do belong together. But would I want to read about Jamie without Claire? I don’t think so. I can’t relate to him. But I can relate to Claire, and there’s so much I admire about her.

    Claire is strong in conviction. She believes in herself and those she trusts and loves. She is as strong as any man around her and doesn’t apologize for it. She never defines herself by society’s expectations of men and women, and won’t let anyone else define her that way either. She is simply herself, come what may. While I am always honest about who I am to myself, there are too many times I hide that from others for fear of what they may think of me.

    Claire isn’t swayed by what anyone, including Jamie, thinks of her. She simply is who she is with no facades. She may notice what others think of her, and sometimes even be hurt by it, but it doesn’t change her actions. All too often, my fear of being hurt by others holds me back from taking risks.

    Claire isn’t shy about asking for, or simply taking, what she wants and needs. Whether it’s for her patients, her family, or herself, she is an advocate. Most women, myself included, find it incredibly difficult to advocate for themselves.

    Claire feels all her emotions in full and doesn’t apologize for that either. She expresses (though not usually in words) and uses her anger, her joy, her sorrow, her love, her frustration, her desire. I have a very hard time expressing myself emotionally and find it astonishingly difficult to openly discuss my feelings – positive or negative. It simply feels too vulnerable, but I also know it’s holding me back from some true connections.

    Claire has a calling. She knows what she is meant to do and no one can stop her. Even in my 40s, I dream of having that kind of certainty – of knowing what my life is supposed to be about.

    Claire is not perfect (and she wouldn’t be an interesting character if she were). She’s impulsive, which can work against her at times. She can be blunt to the point of being brutal. In times of deep crisis, her instinct is to run away (mine, too!) rather than stay to fight the difficult fight. And she’s not always as empathetic as I would like her to be, especially towards other women.

    But Claire is a role mode for being true to yourself and not apologizing for it. We don’t need all women to *be* Claire. We do need all women to be themselves and accept each other as-is. Let’s all just think about how great that world would be!

    1. Avatarjackieincincy

      This is terrific! I really recognize my own feelings about Claire in your description and see myself much like you describe yourself. We can celebrate and appreciate our differences! We can’t all be Claire but we can all admire her and take the kernels that fit and use them to strengthen ourselves. Good job!

  16. Avatarcharolettehanaghan

    Dear Claire
    I was overjoyed to receive your letter and package . The herbs and descriptions of use will come in handy, I am sure this summer. I having been thinking of you and wondering how you both are getting along in France . The night we met is still fresh in my mind. I admire your strength and ability in the long night that ensued . Never had I seen such things done by anyone before. Your husband is a lucky man in that you were able to attend to his wounds so skillfully. Marcus still chuckles every time he remembers that night. He hold you in awe over the killing of the wolf with your bare hands. I hope you received the pelt in fine condition. Personally I thought it hideous, but he felt the need to send on to you.
    Joyous to hear that you are expecting your first child. One of life’s little blessings. I have set the household to knitting blankets and such to send on.
    The news that you have taken a position in the hospital there , troubles me some, you hear some awful stories. I do know you have a good head on your shoulders and won’t take any necessary risks..I say with a chuckle.. You take care of your self. Don’t forget to eat.
    Well I’ll make this the end,. Write again soon and let me know how you are getting on.
    May God Bless you both
    Your Faithful Friend
    Annabell

  17. Avatarkaori

    Ok, here goes nothing…

    I first ‘met’ Claire when I was 16 and it wasn’t until later on in my life that I realized how important that ‘meeting’ would be.

    She stayed with me through life’s trials. Starting from the end of high school, whilst I was pulling out of severe depression in the bosom of an unstable family.

    Claire wasn’t at the forefront of my thoughts then. I was just wading my way back to the land of the living and feeling. (Barely treading water to be honest.)

    She was a small comforting weight. Present, but not always recognised. (Ballast if you will.)

    Claire was and is the blueprint for HOW I wanted and wish to be:

    Strong, but not rigid.
    Flawed, but beautiful because of it and not in spite of it.
    Kind, but not anyone’s doormat.
    Courageous enough to stand up and live with the results your beliefs and life altering decisions.
    Confident enough to know that out of all the opinions of ‘you’ there have been and will be…only the ones from those that *matter* matter.

    And lastly, Claire helped me understand that in the end it’s those ‘inner qualities’ that distinguish you. Perhaps for both good and ill. But most importantly, they allow you to love and be loved by people equal to them.

    My eternal thanks to ‘Claire’ for this gift: A map to my best self.

    *thanks for reading!*

  18. RMSRMS

    Here is my essey about Claire. My first language is Finnish so there might be some funny sentences in between…Google translator didnt help that much. And I am Nurse myself, so there is always professional point of view in the whole story for me….

    Nurse to survive….or survivor by nature and knowledge?

    Claire Randall worked during World War II as a nurse in conditions involving multiple situations what today’s women could not even imagine being.
    Although as a child he toured the world with his uncle in extreme conditions, only working as a nurse in a war shaped a true survivor in her .

    After the war she gave up her profession , like many of the women in that time who got married. Determination, skill, courage, self-help and the daily presence of death shaped her a skilled, perceptive and daring woman. Even if Claire focused her interest in botany after war, myself got the feeling that devoted love for Frank wouldn´t been enough in the long run …. even if the sex life was passionate.

    And then – HUMPS- she fell through time to the 1740 ‘s.

    Working in masculine army hierarchy, understanding war and battle in some degree and nurse training helped her , especially the first few days
    to cope with extreme conditions compared to 1940S. With her own professionalism, courage and determination she began to earn her place and appreciation , piece by piece ,in the the community where the women had little value. The woman was her husband’s property and under his, nothing more.

    Claire’s expertise and skills of healing caused confusion , especially in father Bain and in Mc Kenzie brothers, not to mention Geillis Duncan.
    Childcare, cookery and household management skills were the only claims to the woman , so it’s no wonder that Claire’s other skills caused confusion.
    Father Bains religion based conceptions of human ailments are quite understandable , as well as his actions based on beliefs of witchcraft towards Claire perhaps acceptable.

    But Mc Kenzie brothers realized what kind of jewel they had found and decided to take full advantage of her .
    Although I think Botany orientation would be bored to Claire in the long run , it was more than helpful to tend her patients in 1740`s without modern medicine. Mc Kenzie brothers were both educated men , like Jamie . They saw Claire’s more than an ordinary woman. Angus and Rupert treated Claire like any woman , even worse than their own-non-Sassenachs …. Murtaugh on the other hand appreciated her.

    Geillis Duncan didn`t have nursing skills in 1940’s or either 1740’s , but via her own botanical skilss she very quickly realized what kind of women Claire really was. I think that Geillis noticed that Claire knows more plants than she did. Claire`s courage to take care of the boy who had eaten poisonous plants in the churchyard made impression to Geillis. And this was the event that woke Geillis intrest towards Clare up even more. Claire could not have known that her skills would effect destiny of both of them.

    In the beginning Claire coped 1740`s situations through profession as a nurse . Tending Jamie’s shoulder in the dark without proper management tools
    indeed require skills and knowledge , as well as daring. The nurse as a proper profession was born in the truest sense in the next century. 1740`s healers took care of patients in the time perception. 1940 nurse knew more than the 1740`s healers , but as a woman Claire was always under suspicion. Interesting is how well she represents today’s nurse image at that time. Her grip on the treatment is holistic and human, whoever the patient was, just like in todays nursing.

    But the knowledge and expertise kept her alive. But I believe , that without the nurse’s training , she would have survived almost equally well.

    Determination , vitality , living in difficult conditions and in particular the knowledge of the history saved her skin almost as many times as to medical skills . Participation in the research of Randalls family history with her ​​husband Frank was not a bad thing at all , but Claire thought it was boring … Boring history became lifesaver.

    Claire’s knowledge of the history made Mac Kenzie brothers more suspicious than her care expertise . Doubting her spying for English made ​​Claire’s life uncertain. He could not rely on anyone- except Jamie in time .

    As a woman, she wanted explanations, questioned and doubted things that at the time the woman is not one to make . She stood up herself and I think that her nature combined with nursinf skills also frightened part of the people and made ​her interesting . Friendship with Jamie brought her a certain degree of security, as well Colum McKenzie command to manage the castles healer tasks..

    Marriage with Frank was just beginning , when Claire fell through time to the 1740 ‘s. The living ing Scottish castle and surviving daily life shaped her up to real Claire. Living in 1940`s with Frank probably would have been typical of that period, but for Claire in the long run frustrating and underchallenged . I do not believe that Claire would have got the same scale to show the real abilities of nuring care and the medical field .

    Examined aspect through husbands, Frank didn`t accept Claires acting as a nurse and some of her characters. Raising the family and looking after the home were the issues of marriage in his point of view.Jamie appreciated all aspects in Claire, nursing and nature.Skills , knowledge, and as well as strength of character , determination and acting recklessly. Jamie fell in love with Claire on these things, not to mention the beautiful in appearance.

    Claire is survivor because of her profession , nature and knowledge. Brave , skillful , clever woman, who built her status in the beginning of the story.

    Ther is saying that behind every succesfull man, there is strong, wise and hardworking woman. In Claires case there is loving, wise and supportive husband behind her. Equal survivor.

    1. Avatarjackieincincy

      I know a lot of nurses and believe that many of them have that same inner toughness and skill set to function well in difficult situations. Glad you wrote about that. Thanks!

  19. Avatarsmithke123

    I am new to the Outlander fan community, only having read the books after seeing the first episode on STARZ. To now be part of this vast network of fans of the show and fans of the book is truly an amazing experience. Because of the show, many more women have the privilege of getting to know Claire. She is truly an aspirrational character! She, of course, is flawed as we all are. But for that reason, we see how she works through problems and difficulties she encounters, albeit some of her own creation. She embodies many conflicting characteristics. She is modern in that she stands up to the established mores of the 18th century, but she is also traditional in that she does much / gives up much, for love. She is outspoken on the one hand, but keeps buried some very deep feelings, i.e., her post traumatic reaction to her rape. She is a dichotomy of emotions and responses in many respects. But she is who we are also in the modern society. As a 62 year old educated woman who raised a family and had a profession, I can identify with her strength. There have been many times I was ready to drop because there was so much to do, but wanted to be a role model for my three boys so they would have a respect and appreciation of women and the choices they are sometimes forced to make. I of course was not exposed to the physical conditions that Claire was exposed to, so her journey is even more telling of her inner strength and determination. I also admire her for her openness and acceptance of her own sexuality. While she, at times, does sublimate her own physical desires to Jamie’s, more often than not she takes what she needs. Conversely, she is not afraid to give herself wholly to him, to loose herself in him and that is truly why I love her so. Claire Fraser knows who she is, what she need and wants, and for that reason can also give it up and loose herself in Jamie when he is in need. Hence, why the love story lives on through all these many books.

  20. Avatarflincaint

    I wasn’t a book-fan to start with. I watched the first eight episodes after Christmas because a friend praised the show so much that I wanted to find out exactly what she was talking about. After the eight episodes, I found myself so eagerly wanting to find out what happened to Claire’s journey that I started to pick up the books.

    Claire’s story, in a way, is a story reflecting many women’s life success and struggles. Like a lot of women, she knew one way to love and one way to live. She played no game and stays true to herself without holding back. Life threw her curve balls, not necessary prepared for all those happened or to be happened, but she tried really hard to make the best out of it while caring for the ones she loves.

    Claire is extraordinarily yet ordinary. She gracefully impressed everyone she came by, yet at the end of the day, she recognized the important things in her life and picked her battle without regret for the imperfection. She is a graceful survivor.

    As much as time has changed for a lot of things, obviously, not fast enough for women. Many times, women are been convinced to play a secondary role for “the greater of good”, however one defines that. A lot of time, women struggle with the visible and invisible boundaries confining them to truly feel free to pursue things they love. I found encouragement and comfort in Claire’s character. I know she’s fictional, but I also found a lot of truth in her. Time traveling might not be my competence, but the courage she took for challenges of her life is something I can also breathe in and echo to from time to time.

    Back to the TV show that got me into reading the books, Caitriona Balfe is a great illustration to remind me that there are so many “Claires” out there. I don’t know her enough to say much but from a few articles I read about her and her career paths, it is very impressive that she can stay so strong and so genuine.

    I am glad that I encountered Claire. She reminds me how proud I am to be a woman.

  21. Purl99Purl99

    I came late to the Outlander party and haven’t stopped celebrating since. I truly hope to be Claire when I grow up!

    Not quite an essay…but its to the point.

  22. Avatarrjohnstr

    What a fun idea, Terry! Here is my entry:

    When I first met Claire, I recognized her right away. Not only as a strong female protagonist (although she is that) but as a mother, a sister, a friend. As myself.

    She is every woman who found herself in a dangerous situation and had to save herself by her wits. She is every woman who refuses to be defined by the times in which she lives, by society’s opinion of what a woman in those times should be. She loves, but she does not let herself be defined by the men she loves. She is always quintessentially herself first.

    She is every woman who has seen the man she loves broken by life and had to bring him back from the brink. Who will fight for the people she loves, protecting them with her body and her spirit.

    We root for her because we know her, because we’ve been her, because we too must live with the choices we’ve made and find the beauty in them, and the heartbreak, and still find the will to go on.

  23. AvatarSonny and Brenda

    I love Claire. I love how brave, smart, honest, creative, heroic and ballsy she can be… At all times! Claire is the type of person I’d love to be. She is warm, caring and yet she can be ruthless when it comes to protecting her loved ones. Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser is one of the strongest heroines I have ever encountered in my reading!

    This woman is a survior of so much! Claire has survived living and traveling between 2 different time periods and she made it work in each time period. She always puts the needs of others before her own, until the time was right and at that point, she was able to finally follow her path back to her true love. It wasn’t easy to get back to that place, time, experiences and centuries change people but, true love survived time and space. Everything that was done in the years past didn’t break her connection to Jamie or vice versa. It WAS worth it. There was a pot of gold, or maybe whisky at the end of the rainbow and that was the true love of separated lovers.

    Claire is a force to be reckoned with… I see so many who gush over Jamie, and sure, Jamie is swoon-worthy BUT, there would be no story without Claire. It’s Claire’s voice that I identify with, it’s her voice I look for in all the books and the show. No matter what her experience was in the books or on the show, she always held her head high, became practial, dusted herself off and began again. Just like real life. I adore Claire, end of story.

    Ro

  24. JulieCJulieC

    Hi Terry,

    I’m relatively new to the Outlander world, having discovered Claire through Cait’s brilliant portrayal! (sidebar – if Ron had not created the brilliant BSG reboot, I don’t think I would have given Outlander a look, so HUGE thanks to Ron and the AMAZING Outlander team!). I get to the end of episode 1.08 and can’t wait to find out what happens next. I download Outlander and go down the rabbit hole… I devour all 8 of Diana’s incredible books in 7 months and start thinking I have a serious problem because it is all that I think about. I was on the verge of creating “Outlander’s Anonymous” when I discovered I was not alone! It seems funny to say, but Outlander is changing my life in ways I could never imagine…

    When I read the stories about people who discovered Claire 20 years ago, I get a bit envious – and sad. I wonder if I would have taken a slightly different path had I read the books earlier. Sure, I love the fact that Claire is brave, strong, intelligent and independent – I grew up with women like that. I am very grateful to the real-life Claire’s who paved the way for me to be able to study, have a career and make my way in the world (business, in my case). When I need a bit of extra courage – like I will need in the next month or so – I try to tap into what I now call my “inner warrior Claire”, the part of myself that is not afraid to go head to head with authority, who takes charge and gets the job done, no matter what; the “mother bear” part that will walk through fire to protect family and friends.

    However, what really intrigues me is Claire’s journey towards a life balance as the series progresses. Hey, I have not found mine yet, so I’m probably reading with my own filters on. Going back in time the first time makes Claire grow more confident, changing her life and her career path when she returns to the 20th century. In my opinion, she could have easily become the hard-as-nails uber surgeon, sacrificing mariage and family – and Diana shows us glimpses of that. But she goes back in time again… by choice and grows differently because of it. Claire lives through life and death experiences that are more personal to her, that emphasize what really matters. I could go on for hours about how I love the Claire and Jamie relationship as the books progress… There is a beautifully evolving “dance” between them as they get older that I really enjoy – not to say envy (I never thought a chamber pot scene would make me cry!). Claire is even stronger, braver and wiser because she is more “human” and real in my eyes. So I will try to re-discover the “real Claire” hidden in me and tap into it more often.

    Terry, I have to say that I really enjoy your posts, from the BRILLIANT costume designs, to everyday life issues, to topics that make me think. See, had I not discovered Outlander, I would not be doing this right now! Thanks for everything that you do!

  25. AvatarDaphnepf

    I blame it all on Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser for affecting my life, and the lives of others, since I first read The Books in 1995. That was a year after my first visit to Scotland. In 1996 I went online for the first time and immediately went to the authors’ groups on AOL to look for Diana Gabaldon. It was there that I met a fantastic group of ladies who have been online friends since then. The Outlander books by Diana Gabaldon drew us all together and in 1997 we had our first “Gathering” at a New England Scottish Games. None of us had met in the flesh, but we decided that we didn’t believe we had any “axe murderers” in the bunch, and we had a wonderful weekend. We have members from all over, including Canada and England, Texas, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, Arkansas, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. For twelve years we had gatherings all over North America, and one trip to Scotland. Lately our gatherings have been smaller due to family commitments, but we still “talk” almost every day on our email loop, or Facebook. There are 22 of us ranging in age from early thirties to late seventies. Our next get together will be at a dude ranch in upstate New York this fall.

    We were all drawn to the writing, but especially to the characters. Claire and Jamie jumped out of those pages at us, and we have analyzed and critiqued both of them for years. For many of us, Claire is our hero. Her talents, her adaptability, her strengths, and, yes, her weaknesses, plus the deep love she has for Jamie, all combine to make the kind of woman many of us strive to be in the “real” world. Would we “go back” like Claire did? Most of us would like to think so.

  26. Avatarnancymcgeheeguillory

    “Claire”ifying My Superhero
    Last summer, when I told my co-worker Ashley about a new show coming out about a time traveling nurse, who ends up in eighteenth century Scotland, I never imagined I’d meet my alter ego, and role model in the pages of the book the show is based on, that Ashley insisted I read. The moment Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser went through those stones, and proved she had enough sense to keep her wits, and work through what was happening to her, I knew she was a woman I could admire and respect, because we shared a similar experience.
    Five years ago, I came home from work, to discover that my wonderful, forty-eight year old, husband Maurice, (Moe) wasn’t going to wake up from his afternoon nap on our living room couch. Much like Claire’s fall though time that erased the world she’d lived in with Frank, Moe’s death destroyed not just the life we’d shared, but all of our future plans. At the time of his death, Moe was unemployed, drawing workers comp, and had no life insurance. Just like Claire, I found myself in an alien world, alone, penniless, terrified, and vulnerable, at the mercy of others, and trusting in their kindness. As I continued reading Claire’s story, I realized just how alike we are, and she soon became not just a fictional heroine I could relate to, but my sister survivor, who, like me was determined to get through the worst situations.
    While Claire and I share many of the same traits, we both have foul mouths, love good whisky, and have very readable faces, Claire is way more woman than I’ll ever be, braving the unknown numerous times, risking life and limb to be with her soul mate. I realize that makes Claire sound like a reckless daredevil, which she is not. Claire is unequivocally unique, but she is just like any other woman too. She’s a loving wife, doting mother, and capable caregiver, yet she’s also practical, resourceful, grounded, and realistic about who she is in relation to where she came from, how she got where she is, and why she belongs with Jamie. To describe Claire as a ‘strong” woman sounds trite in light of her who what where, and how, but it’s her inner strength combined with dogged determination, and her love for her man, that drives her to not just survive, but thrive.
    Like every other fan of Diana Gabaldon’ novels, I fell in love with Jamie Fraser, who reminds me a great deal of Moe, who was my “Jamie”. The relationship between Claire and her man brings back sweet memories of my happy marriage, and it is one of the many reasons I keep reading the books, and watch the show. (I host viewing parties for every episode!) But, Claire herself is my main attraction, because she knows who she is, what her purpose is, and she lives each day fully, fearlessly, knowing that tomorrow isn’t promised. She stands her ground, never compromises her beliefs, and sets an excellent example for succeeding as a woman in a very male dominated environment.
    Every female, at any age, can take a lesson from Claire. She isn’t perfect. She has her moments of weakness, and doubt, yet, when she must act, she does so with clarity, and conscious effort to do her utmost best. Claire doesn’t wear a cape, fly like Superman, read minds, nor does she have x-ray vision, but she’s my superhero who comes to my rescue from the pages of eight amazing books, when I’m feeling down and uninspired.
    Nancy McGehee Guillory

  27. Avatarclaireokc

    This is a little different for me because, although I’m an artist, my medium is painting or designing – in the visual stuff, not the literary vein, but Claire E.B.R. Fraser, …..well, she got me by the heart and didn’t let go. Because this isn’t my medium, this is long!

    It took me a while to figure out that this is one of those monumental story-telling epics that’s the kind that reaches into each of us and appeals to such an extent, that it becomes almost impossible not to be affected. Probably around the time Claire saved Jamie’s soul from the Wentworth devastation, I realized just how great a journey this story was going to take. What was evident from the start is that Claire and the people she hangs around with (Jamie, family, friends – good ones) are people of worth. As she says, Jamie is a man and that’s no small thing. Well, Claire is a woman and that’s equally no small thing. Both of them live in a world chocked full of challenges and incredible dangers and dealing with the problems as they are handed to them. Of course, Diana has written in a lot of problems to make the story go. You have to have something to write about besides “….and they lived happily ever after,” as the story doesn’t progress much then (even though there have been times I just wanted them to live for a while with nothing wrong on the ridge or at Lallybroch).

    So many authors turn to the decaying or corruption of a character(s) as a dramatic tool to progress the story, but in Claire’s (and Jamie’s) case, they are confronted with one challenge after another, working through them, solving them and becoming closer together as well as stronger persons of themselves. This is the mark of fine and compelling story-telling in the vein of Odysseus, Jason, Beowulf, Frodo Baggins, King Arthur, Robin Hood, Luke Skywalker and aside from a few (Guinevere, Elizabeth Bennett, Lisbeth Salander), most of these are men, and then there’s Claire E. B. R. Fraser – a woman heroine for our times – well, OK, maybe a century or two behind! Claire not only confronts one or two challenges along the way (the least of which is learning to cope in a time two centuries ago), but manages to meet them and surmount them (OK, just a tad double entendre!), and in the process become a person that she couldn’t even dream of becoming without having met and sir-rmounting those challenges. There’s many times in the book, if I were Claire I would just be tempted to sit down and cry and wallow around in the woe-is-me’s, when Claire picks herself right up and starts all over again or thinks through what is the solution to what’s right in front of her. If she’s not doing that, then she’s working through some major project like how to stop the destruction of the Highlander way of life or something equally as monumental. And if her temper or emotion has gotten the better of her, and caused her to make a really bad decision, she reasons herself through the whole predicament allowing herself to see a holistic view rather than a monolithic one. Claire is not one to just give up or cry her way into a solution or “depend upon the kindness of strangers” a la Blanche DuBois.

    She’s not tackling these problems as if she’s the only solution or screaming outlandish (sorry couldn’t resist) premonitions of what the future can bring, (a la Otter Tooth who rants and raves and looks like he nuts when the Mohawk won’t believe him). She works quietly behind the scenes and often in an accepting way, realizing that her unique position gives her insight, but also gives her the picture of what may pass as well as the curse of what will pass. Still, she keeps going.

    Granted, a lot has to do with the fact that Claire and Jamie have each other, and that does give a person huge strength – she gives it to Jamie and he to her. At the same time, they are both made of such worth which is what makes their union even than much more valid. They set a bar high for others to follow. Remember Brianna worries that she won’t find a love like her mother’s because she knows how strong her love for Jamie was/is – it was/is a high standard. Tom Christie is drawn to the same forcefulness. Many are drawn to Claire, hoping to get what she has, not realizing that it’s not Claire’s to give, but only hers to show the way. Jamie realizes this, and not only accepts Claire’s gift, but returns it to her, thereby accepting the ultimatum and he too, becomes more than he thought he could. Claire knows that she can be attached to someone so strongly, yet still remain viable unto herself – after Jamie is shot in the heid and presumed dead or dying, it’s Claire who picks up the ax and kills the witch! And THEN after it’s all over, and she and Jamie are OK, she has the guts to cry it all out. Sheesh! How can we not want to be that vulnerable and strong like that at the same time?!!

    And Claire is like all of us; she tumbles and falls, sometimes very badly, and yet can come to grips with her problems and mistakes then work at dealing with them in the best, clumsy, groping, only way she knows to rise above them and survive another disaster and become more than she thought she could in the process. She can credit their relationship with her strength. The truth is that if she didn’t have the personal character to strive to be a “person of worth” on her own, her relationship with Jamie wouldn’t hold that much strength either. It is that both of them feel compelled to be people that are better than they thought they could be, that makes for their appeal. They have the strength of each other, but they also have the strength of their own characters. They can bend, but they can not break that individual conviction or strength. They both have clear ideas of what they can do and what they can’t do. They also don’t ask the other to do something they know he/she can’t or won’t do.

    The greatest thing that we humans can do is live an example that we would want our descendants to follow and to provide them the wherewithal, if nothing other than just a model way of living, to brave a path that they can follow. Claire braving a path filled with unexpected dangers that we can’t even imagine today, would be enough for me to hail a cab right back to the 20th century, but not Claire. Claire realizes her place is in this more dangerous time, and knowing that danger, still accepts the reality of it because she knows that she fits with this one other person. Yes, she’s willing to give up everything to be with him, but she is also willing to give it everything she’s got. She doesn’t cleave to him as chattel, but comes to him as a valuable asset and resource, (and BTW Jamie knows this too). Claire manages another adventure, another trek, another challenge, another victory because she can not NOT accept it, and neither can Jamie. They both know this about themselves; they respect it about the other; and they don’t expect any less from themselves or the other.

    Personally, I find the story of Claire uplifting, refreshing, enlightening and classic in that it never fades, dates or grows old with time. We all still love the story of our heroes and Claire as a timeless heroine survives fads and fashions. Like all great story-telling characters, Claire haunts us, her character beckons us and has a hold on us that defies reason but is as natural as breathing air. It is in our very human nature to find Claire compelling, addictive, inspiring, consummating and just basically….well…..Diana had better not stop writing about her for a very long time!

    1. peggyvanslppeggyvanslp

      Your favorite media may be painting and design, but you proved you can draw a wonderful and inspiring picture with words as well. This was a great read! Well done.

  28. Avatarhotscot

    Adrift in Uncharted Territory

    When we first meet Claire Beauchamp Randall in Outlander, she is a woman adrift. Like so many other women who had been put to great use in the war effort, then abruptly left to resume their domestic prewar lives, Claire feels that she must find a way to reconnect to her husband, Frank. Something is obviously missing from their renewed relationship; the closeness is gone, the ability to relate to each other lost or sublimated. Having witnessed so much suffering and chaos in the war and also having been in a position of great responsibility, settling down to the traditional duties of the wife of an academic would be foreign and a challenge. She was married to Frank so briefly, the relationship had never become truly comfortable. They hadn’t had the time to settle into married life, to complete each other’s sentences or know just what the other was thinking without saying it out loud. How does one become a wife again after such a long separation? She didn’t relate to her own parent’s relationship, they had died when she was much too young to remember them, and Uncle Lamb had never taken a wife. Claire had never had a real home, but had lived in a rather crude and nomadic fashion with her archeologist uncle in crude domiciles. She really had no domestic training or female role model to emulate, so she would just have to muddle through this new challenge the best she could. The woman Frank had married eight years prior was vastly different than the one to whom he returns, more mature and hardened than the inexperienced girl he remembered . Claire very much wanted to find a way to reconnect with Frank, but the years of separation had taken her on a different path, one that perhaps he could never fully understand or relate to. His war experience was so very different from hers. She had found herself in the immediacy of the war, surrounded by blood and death and horrific tragedy, while Frank was in MI 5 with its secrecy and calculated plotting. Well, she hoped that they would at least be able to reconnect with each other through love. Let their bodies come together, that had never been a problem in the past, and hopefully the rest would follow with time. The fates, though, had something different in mind for our heroine. She wandered too close to the standing stones at Craig Na Dun and found herself cast into 18th century Scotland. Once again, she found herself adrift, rudderless, in uncharted territory and must survive by her sheer wit & native intelligence. Likely, her overall attractiveness, grace, and compassion will serve her well in hostile terrain with crude barbarians who speak an unintelligible tongue and demonstrate uncouth mannerisms. Her handy nursing skills initially help to endear her to the pack of wild highland heathens she encounters upon first landing in the 18th century when she sets the dislocated shoulder of one of the lads, Jamie. Despite being terrified, she musters an authoritative manner that illustrates to these rough men that she is perhaps no ordinary woman. They might find her useful, which sets the rest of the adventure in motion.

  29. @auntbabs74@auntbabs74

    Channel Your Inner Claire
    by Barbara Kidwell @auntbabs74
    I began reading Outlander in October 2014 as an escape from my troubled marriage. I wanted to wait to watch the TV series until I was finished with the first book. While I immediately fell in love with James Fraser, Claire is what sold the story to me. I was immediately hooked. Claire Beauchamp is an intelligent, strong woman, who despite being thrown into a whole new world in a different time, has the ability to adapt to any situation and overcome obstacles. The reason why I love Claire? Well, she is a reminder of who I once was and who I wanted to be again. I believe there is a little Claire in all of us.
    In a sense, Claire had always been an outsider – an outlander. She never had a true hometown and moved from place to place. This was true growing up with her Uncle Lamb and moving with Frank so he could work at various universities. She was thrown into the front lines as a nurse during the War and then of course she eventually finds herself traveling back in time. I could relate to her character as I grew up living in different places, never spending more than 3 or 4 years in one place. As an adult, I still find that I move around every few years. I understand how it is to be someone who doesn’t belong but finds a way to adapt to her surroundings. The benefit of my life and the life of Claire is that you learn to handle life’s circumstances in a way that other people cannot. While you try to plan for a future, the reality is that life is fluid and things will happen in which we have no control. Adapting to change is a survival skill, no matter where you live or what century you live in.
    I understand Claire’s need to work. I have the utmost respect for stay- at-home- moms and housewives. However, like Claire, I have to work outside the home. Claire has a gift to tend to the sick and wounded. While I don’t know if Accounting is necessarily a gift, I know that my education and profession is part of who I am. The bottom line is that I am not fulfilled as a person unless I have my work. It is what I do; it is who I am. I remember reading the parts where Claire worked late nights at the hospital and had issues finding reliable babysitters for Breanna. As a working mother, I understood how it feels to leave your child with a sitter. There is a sense of guilt leaving your child but it takes strength to accept the truth. The reality is that to be a happy woman and a good mother- my work was something that I could not live without.
    The characteristic that really sells Claire to me over all others, is her ability to find control in an uncontrollable situation. She has the ability to focus on the task at hand, problem solve, reflect, and move on. I am sure this is why she made a great healer. In a sea of chaos, she could focus on the patient in front of her and then move on to the next. On a personal level, every day of my life was like being trapped in a kaleidoscope of emotions. I was in a toxic, tumultuous relationship and felt like my life was out of control. I had to “channel my inner Claire” and focus on the immediate issues. What needed to be handled right away and what could be addressed later? I would take the time to reflect on the impact of my decisions without letting any regrets hinder me from pressing forward.
    Claire has the ability to endure life’s trials. She is a representation of what being a woman is. Claire reminds us to enjoy each moment and live in the moment. You never know what life may bring tomorrow. Enjoy the special moments at Lallybroch or Fraser’s Ridge because, like Claire, we all know that sometimes more obstacles lie ahead. In times of distress, I have often asked myself, “What would Claire do?” I hope that every woman finds the strength to “channel their inner Claire.”

  30. Avatartiapet11

    In the fall of 1993, I stopped into Stacy’s Bookstore on Market Street in San Francisco during my lunch hour. This wasn’t unusual, as I worked at a law office on the same block and Stacy’s proved to be a salve to my non-corporate spirit. I had been spending even more time in the stacks of late, looking for literature and criticism that supported the case I was making in my Master’s thesis in English literature, arguing that a specifically female heroic journey archetype could be traced in Emily Dickinson’s self-published books of poetry. I was immersed in Dickenson’s language, in the tightly rendered lines that exploded with heat and energy and a ferocity for expression on her own terms. Poetry filled my brain, the stages of the heroic journey penetrated my dreams and all of my reading. I thought it might be wise to find a counterbalance – a book, a voice, a story that might allow my brain to float at ease, a Calgon-take-me-away kind of story. So, perusing the aisles in Stacy’s, looking for something buoyant for my poetry-laden brain, my eyes grazed over the dark blue cover of a large book with gold lettering on the spine: Outlander. I liked the word. I liked the simple design cover. I liked the weight of the book, which meant I could spend some good amount of time sinking into the story. I liked that there was time travel and romance – a perfect combination and the opposite of what I was immersed in with my thesis. I liked that there were two more books in the series.
    Search done.
    Book purchased.
    Emily exchanged for Claire.
    Let the distraction begin.
    That first reading of Outlander calls to mind the image of a swirling drain, water sucked and pulled out of sight into another dimension, out of sight, the force inexorable. I was the water, Outlander the force of nature that sucked me in. I could not put it down. Thesis be damned. My Emily Dickinson collections played host to dust bunnies. Feminist essays and archetypal critiques were shelved. Every waking, non-working hour I devoted to finding out what the hell was going to happen to Claire Randall Fraser. Yes, her Scottish husband Jamie was god-like and a delight to imagine. But Claire – Claire made me hold my breath. She irritated and intrigued. I marveled at her gumption and wits and courage and shook my head at her sometimes rash and foolish decisions. But mostly, she made me wonder – how would I handle such an event as falling back in time? How would I react to my world, as I knew it, coming to an end? Would I have what it takes to survive by my wits, to hold on to my sense of self, to surrender the known for the unknown and still keep my heart open?
    Three weeks and a trilogy later, Claire’s journey through the stones, her losses, her triumphs, her decisions and her actions left me enthralled and chomping at the bit for the next tale in the saga. Returning to my thesis, it came as no surprise, that Claire’s journey was heroic indeed, following the archetypal path inward to the core of her strength. Claire surrenders to naught but her intuition, to the inner voice that guides her through every step – her decision to stay with Jamie and the means to which she resorts to save him, stay with him, leave him and return again, the confidence in her intellect, and her dependence on her inner eye to guide her through surgeries and mothering and journeys across oceans, mountains and time – this was a character that I initially thought I had never seen before. This was not a damsel in distress. This was a female hero – flawed, proud, sexual, determined, intelligent and soulful and soul-guided. And over time I discovered that what Diana Gabaldon had drawn was a woman for the ages – a mirror of women I knew, of women I had met throughout literature, a woman like myself. Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser is Everywoman.
    Claire is Jane Eyre. Claire is Edna from The Awakening. Claire is Janie Crawford in Their Eyes Were Watching God, Elizabeth Bennett and Karen Blixen and Celie and Becky Sharp and Catherine Earnshaw and Lucy Honeychurch. And Katniss and Hermione too. As each new tome was published, I was not surprised when Claire embraced every facet of her life – its beauty and its hardships. Regardless of what happened to her, Claire just got on with it. That’s what heroes do. That’s what every woman does. She get’s on with it.
    When I set about designing the curricula for my English classes at an all-girls high school in San Francisco, I was determined to present literature by women and about women who were determined to be unwaveringly themselves. Women who spoke up, had a point of view, used their voices, led with their hearts and with their heads and who listened to their inner voice. Women who reflected all of the traits of a hero, women like Claire. Though I never taught the Outlander books (I imagine parents would have taken a wee issue with the sex), I recognized her in the other female characters we studied. And indeed, when the world was pulled out from underneath me by a spinal cord injury, I answered my own question – what would I do? Like Everywoman and every woman and Claire, I’m getting on with it.

  31. AvatarLynnLouise

    Thank you Terry for this fun challenge..

    What do I love about Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall Fraser?

    She is a woman who is intelligent, curious and passionate about her beliefs, loves and desires. She is not a woman who shies away from any situation, but has the ability to quickly perceive the circumstances, whether she totally understands them or not, and take action.

    She is a woman whose intelligence has allowed her to adapt quickly to her surroundings, whether they are in mist of WWII, or the Scottish Highlands in 1743.
    To me, she is a natural born leader, who shares information, and makes you strive to better yourself, and at the same time, does not sacrifice all of herself.

    Her curious nature, allows her to become an asset to those around her, by healing the sick, and solving problems to save lives, (the Lily of the Valley poisoning at the Black Kirk, Jamie from Wentworth, and herself from her loss of child).

    She is a direct woman, which I find refreshing, and wish more people were as direct as Claire. In many relationships of today, talking directly is avoided and people cannot bear to hear words other than those of constant praise and admiration. That is why I love the forwardness of the Scottish Highlanders.

    She is passionate about life. She tries to do the right thing regardless of the situation and that takes immense courage. Her passionate nature draws people to her, and these people wish to be like her.

    I love that she is a fighter (stubborn with a mixture of immense drive); she does not give up ever, and realizes her passion in Jamie and knows that they can conquer anything.

    What a wonderful person to be!

  32. AvatarSusanne Armborst

    Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp is a strong, courageous and charming person. She gets to handle with new situations well deliberately, the wandering by the stones, a new century. She gives everything for her great love, at the beginning of Frank and late Jamie, her family and friends. Their health and well-being comes first for her.
    Besides, she also forgets with pleasure sometimes her own welfare. Also by the exercise of her occupation, as a nurse later than doctor. She is always open to new situations and towards new person. She tries to see only the best in the person. For example she tries to convert BJR!! If, however, she is disappointed, she acts like a lioness and fights.
    However, there are also situations where Claire comes to her limits . Then she has despaired, does not know any more further and hopes for support. This gets her by Jamie, Brianna and the rest of her family. A fantastic woman, from which one can learn a lot!!!

  33. AvatarSoBayFan

    Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall Fraser
    A Square Peg

    We all bring our own life experiences to reading or watching the Outlander series. I connect to Claire because I think she is, like myself, a square peg in a round world. Claire doesn’t really fit into the “woman’s role” in either of the times that she lived.

    Claire was born a generation before the woman’s liberation movement… my mother’s era… when women went back to their homemaking after the war. But Claire was raised unconventionally by her Uncle Lamb. She was raised to be independent and think for her self. Her nursing experiences in the war only reinforced that independence and helped square those corners of her personality. After the war, when she returned to Frank, she was expected to fit into that round hole of professor’s wife. I think Claire wanted to be that wife for him. She wanted a home and family. But she also wanted more. After returning through the stones, Claire was not content to be a 50’s Donna Reed type mom. She had a passion for medicine and she wanted to pursue it. She loved her child, but she wanted more. She was a woman ahead of her times.

    Likewise, in the eighteenth century, Claire did not fit into the traditional feminine role. Throughout the books, we see Claire somewhat apart from other women. Although she is the laird’s wife, she let’s Jenny run the household at Lallybroch. On the Ridge she has Mrs. Bugg to worry about meals and cleaning. That is not to say that she can’t love and enjoy other women. It’s just that Claire has a passion to be more than just a wife and mother and that sets her apart from other women of that time.

    Oddly enough, both Frank and Jamie eventually provided Claire with a home and atmosphere where she could be herself and flourish. Jamie recognized Claire’s passions and needs first. However, readers often forget that Jamie was not happy at first with Claire helping out at the hospital in Paris. It was his love for her and understanding that she had a need to do more that finally brought him around. Similarly, had Frank not been willing to watch and help care for Bree, Claire would have given up her career. Both men let Claire be herself.

    How do I relate to all this? Like Claire, I am another square peg. I grew up a tomboy, enjoying boys activities more than girls. I was good in mathematics, which at the time separated me from most women. I worked on spacecraft in the aerospace industry populated by men. Like Claire, I yearned for motherhood as well. Luckily my DH is a secure and generous man who encouraged me to do all that I wanted to do. I’ve had a good life despite the occasional bumps along the road. I think Claire would say the same.

    Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall Fraser is a square peg but, like me, she has found a square hole to reside and is flourishing.

  34. Avatarmaureenanne

    A bouquet for Claire

    I would send a dozen red roses for her beauty and passionate love. I would surround them with heather, moss and baby’s breath for protection, motherly love and eternal love. I would add a sprig of yarrow, fennel, and mistletoe to the ribbon to acknowledge her grief, her strength and her triumphs.

    Claire has been my friend
    From law school to motherhood
    Unforgettable

  35. AvatarLisaW

    A Woman named Claire

    I would love to say that I am the same type of woman as Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser, but honesty compels me to say I am not. Sure I have some of the same qualities as Claire, I have the mouth of a, weel you know, and I love passionately, but there is something more about Claire that makes me read huge books over and over again.
    Claire has courage that makes her compassionate and fierce. World War II begins and what does Claire do, she becomes a triage nurse right on the front lines of the battlefield. A woman of her substance takes what life gives and she give back tenfold.
    After being thrown back to a time when women were not afforded the respect they deserved, Claire faces the challenge and forces herself to fit in as best she can. By fitting in, Claire does not give up the strong woman she is, she uses her strength to make sure the people she is with know that she is a useful person to have with them. She could have so easily watched those men in the cottage force Jamie’s arm back into place, never to be the same, but instead she pushes them away and does what she does best, heal.
    Claire understands men in a way that most women struggle with all their lives. She never begrudges Jamie what he is called to be, “a bloody man”. I am always torn between whether the men are attracted to her because of this, or if they fear her, but I am going to say they are attracted to her. She doesn’t bother with the useless fuddy-duddiness (making up a word here) of women. Let me explain what I mean by this, for me, the fuddy-duddiness looks like; hoping my man knows what I want instead of telling him, or getting upset at him because he doesn’t know. Claire doesn’t have time to waste in getting what she needs, she knows that Jamie doesn’t have the patience or time for this either, this is one of their many strengths in their relationship.
    To say that Claire loves Jamie with all her heart and soul is to speak the truth. Never has a character spoken to me of her passionate ways like Claire does. She is very aware of her feelings for Jamie and does not shy away from them, in fact she seeks him out knowing he gives her a sense of safety. She is honest with him, in a way she never was with Frank. A woman with such understanding of herself is a person that you know you can trust, and Jamie recognizes that in Claire right away.
    I have read each of the Books over many times, and I love so many of the characters Diana has shared with us. However, Claire is a stand out among them, not only because the story belongs to her, but because she is a woman that has seen and lived through many hardships and has remained faithful to her true self. She fights passionately and loves fiercely, and I have been changed in some ways by seeing how a woman, like her, can live in a complicated world, and find a love the spans time and place.
    In 2007 I read Outlander for the first time, and some may say it is just a book of fiction, but to me and many others, it is a story of a woman and her strengths. It has caused me to try to act in ways differently then before in my life. To recognize that I too can be a woman who doesn’t compromise her beliefs. And most of all I have been blessed to meet so many others who admire a fictional character, and hope to find parts of her in themselves, all because of a woman named Claire.

  36. PaulaLovesCOPaulaLovesCO

    Claire Randall, A Woman To Relate To:

    I don’t usually share my life history. Frankly, it’s too painful, so I choose to just move forward with each day. I relate to Claire. A strong woman who, no matter, how many
    times she gets knocked down, she gets back up. I lost my parents young. Not as young as Claire. I was in my 40’s. I have friends that still have parents in their 80’s. Losing your parents knocks you down. But, I had to be strong for my family. So, like Claire, I got back up. 10 years ago, I lost my husband to an illness. I was knocked down. But, I had a son that also was battling an illess that started when he turned 18. So, like Claire, I got back up. I lost my son 8 years ago. Believe me, when I say, I was knocked down. If you have a child or children, you will understand. He was my only child. But, I had 2 choices. Stay knocked down or, like Claire, get back up. I chose to get up. 5 years ago, my only brother died on cancer. My younger brother. My only brother. I saw my family leaving me one by one. I was knocked down again, and once more, like Claire, I chose to get back up. Finally, I hope, 3 1/2 years ago I heard what none us us want to hear, “You have Cancer”. I fought, like Claire fighting the wolf in Diana’s first book. You either choose to lay there and let the wolf snap your neck, or you snap the wolf’s neck. By the grace of God, I snapped cancer’s neck and have been cancer free after going through surgery, chemo and radiation. So, 3 1/2 years later, I am a 63 year old woman, who people can’t believe I am that age and I certaining don’t act that age. I am enjoying life and still kicking it. I still work, stay active & travel. Looking forward to hiking the Mesa Verde in Colorado in July. I could have folded and crawled under the sheets and given up a number of times. But, like Diana’s character, Claire, I chose to get back up and live the life I was given and deal with it. I have fallen in love with Diana’s books and think that the show Outlander is a masterpiece. Caitriona Balfe IS Claire Randall. I hope it will show young women that watch Outlander what it is to be a strong woman. Life will throw you punches. Sometimes more than you deserve. But, at the end of the day, it’s your choice whether to rise again that next morning and make it the best you can. Life is too short, Ye Ken.

  37. Avatargrahamlass

    Dear Great Grandmother Claire,

    I leave in only a few days on my own voyage. I’m sure it won’t be as long or as diverse as yours, however I wanted you to know that you are the inspiration for my choice and will be with me every step of the way.

    When I was a little girl I asked mother to tell me stories, not fairy tales from books, but stories of you. (I hope you don’t mind, but you have been the talk of the family for years.) She told each story in such a fun and engaging way. I loved watching a smile curl from the corner of her mouth or an eyebrow shoot up for theatrical effect.

    I was about eight when she first brought down the box of letters you sent from America. As she read, I wanted to be with you as you helped the people on that mountain. Mother called you a doctor and a healer; to my young imagination that was a powerful combination. I became curious about the restorative components of plants and herbs.

    Today I am now a marine biologist with a specialty in coastal plant life. I accepted a serendipitous offer that now sends me sailing to the Kerguelen Islands. As expedition leader, I will oversee the research of the island’s microscopic plant life in hopes of discovering their unique medicinal uses. Time will reveal if our questions have answers.

    Perhaps packing is the most difficult task in my undertaking. I wish you were here to help me.

    Your most loving granddaughter,
    Elspeth

  38. AvatarRebecca Hoffman

    *There are a few details that are considered SPOILERS. Read at your own risk*
    Here goes nothing…..

    A Heroine to Kindle the Fire

    Ms. Claire Beauchamp and I met 20 years ago. I was in my first year of college – an impressionable 19 year old at the cusp of new experiences in life. My first impression of her was good. I saw her as a strong-minded, awesome woman who was able to take what life threw at her. I fear my infatuation with Jamie overshadowed my idolizing of Claire. Our first meeting didn’t have the powerful affect that in hindsight I wish it had. Outlander was the first book I ever read that had love scenes (again, distracted by Jamie). Looking back, I really wish I had paid more attention to Claire. I think she could have saved me many bad choices and heartaches. I wished I had taken the opportunity to really recognize the strong role model she represented. Did Diana Gabladon know she was giving us such a powerful example of feminine strength?

    I am a daughter of a 1950s-generation mother. She was taught a woman was to be meek, soft spoken, and attentive. Unfortunately for her, when they were handing out those qualities I must’ve been rolling around in the mud with the boys. For years she tried, and tried to “feminize” me. Many a night, I went to bed with soft pink rollers in my hair. Unfortunately, my hair would frizz in a giant dandelion poof; she eventually gave up on the rollers. I was forced to wear dresses to school. My tights rarely made it through the week. There was more than one fight on the playground when I caught boys looking up my dress. In their defense, I was hanging upside down on the monkey bars but still… I delivered my share of punches and strategically placed kicks. My mother finally capitulated and allowed me to wear shorts under my dress.

    I did not have very many strong female role models growing up; however, I was blessed to have an amazing woman in my life: Grandma Cope. She perfected the happy medium between soft and strong. She was the first to calm and soothe; however, you did not want to be the one on the other end of her wooden spoon. My grandfather was known to come home in a drunken haze and deliver unwarranted “lickins’” to his children. One evening, Grandma Cope blocked his way and my grandfather hit her hard enough to bust her eardrum. She never heard out of her left ear again. The important part of the story is that she swung back; she never backed down. He was the one to eventually cower away.

    Grandma Cope was a vibrant woman with fire engine red hair. She seemed immortal; I only wish that was true. She suffered a few strokes. Before the last one left her mute and trapped in her own body, she grabbed my arm and told me, “You do whatever it is you want to do in this world. There isn’t a man or woman alive who can stand in your way. I know strength and determination when I see it. You’ve got fire in your eyes. Let it burn.” She passed when I was 21. My strength and determination wavered.

    Claire visited me again at 22. I was a few years older and wiser and started to soak in some of her qualities. I was still infatuated with Jamie – how can you not be? Reading through Outlander again taught me some lessons I didn’t catch the first time around. I started to see qualities in Claire that I appreciated in my grandmother. Claire reminded me that a woman is responsible for herself and her own happiness. She taught me that I couldn’t rely on another, especially a man, for contentment in life. A strong woman can adapt and survive in any situation. Whether finding myself in unfamiliar surroundings, dealing with life’s harsh realities, or trying to fit into a predominately testosterone driven atmosphere her resiliency set up a path to follow. She was a fictional character and yet she was the example I needed at the time. I found my fire again; I knew what I wanted. As cheesy as it sounds, Claire’s example helped me figure out what I needed to do to get it.

    After many years apart, Claire and I met up again shortly after I turned 38. I took the opportunity to read the rest of her story (or at least what Diana had given us at that time). Claire was a woman who suffered unimaginable heartache, tragic losses, and many, many steps into the dark unknown. Each challenge that blocked her way was handled with a strength and grace that even now I’m still trying to gain. My 22-year-old mind had seen Claire as the epitome of a strong, independent woman. She didn’t need anyone. She could survive on her own. My 38 -(almost 39)-year-old mind sees beyond that survival. Ms. Claire Beauchamp – Randall – Fraser, whatever you want to call her, knew life was more than just surviving. She knew how to love and be loved. She knew that love does not make you weaker but allows you a strength that may otherwise be unknown to you. She knew first hand that you appreciate the ones you love because you never know when they may be gone.

    Claire is so real. She drinks a bit too much at times, has a tendency to speak without thinking, frequently acts without thinking, and lives so passionately that sometimes I fear life will swallow her up. However, she can admit her downfalls. She can take criticism (maybe not right away) and learn from it. She sacrificed many things for the sake of others. My heart broke with hers when she had to walk away from Jamie. One important thing I learned from that was to never give up hope. Twenty years passed before she was able to reunite with Jamie. She knew other things had to happen first. Her daughter needed a chance to grow into adulthood, but the entire time Claire was researching and planning. You can’t let life control you; you are the one with the power – use it.

    We may be living in the 21st century but women are still regarded as second-class citizens. As intelligent women, we need to find and highlight as many positive role-models as possible. I have two teenage daughters. They are not at the age to appreciate Outlander, but I have taught them about their Great-Grandmother Cope. Little by little, I’m introducing them to amazing women – both real and fictional: Sylvia Plath, Audrey Hepburn, Maya Angelou, Elizabeth Bennet, Eowyn (LOTR), Emma Watson….the list could go on and on. I am thankful that Claire, has come back into my life. I needed to be reminded of the fire in my eyes. I’m ready to let it burn for me, for my daughters, and for all the women out there who have lost their spark. Washington Irving once said:

    “There is in every true woman’s heart, a spark of heavenly fire, which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity, but which kindles up and beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity.” (29)

    What has our favorite heroine taught us? We do not need to wait for darkness in order to beam and blaze. We have enough fire to shine through the brightest light. I am woman and I don’t want to roar; I want to shine.

    Irving, Washington. The Sketch-Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. Ed. Susan Manning. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1996. Print.

  39. AvatarGWanner

    Claire: A Companion on my Journey

    I have read and thoroughly enjoyed everyone’s essays. As I’ve read, I have tried to determine what it is about Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall Fraser that has so thoroughly captivated me for the past 23 years. There are certainly many reasons to admire her character; her strength, her passion, her compassion, her loyalty, her wit, her stubbornness, her intelligence and capability. These attributes have been well stated by everyone. I would like to think that I share many of those attributes, but that is not what draws me to her. For me, Claire has always been a part of my own journey. I was 29 years old when I was introduced to Claire. I was newly wed and picked up a novel at the airport for some beach reading on my honeymoon. Not quite the “beach read” I’d anticipated, it was oh so much more. While I have shared NONE of her harrowing adventures, Claire has, nevertheless been with me ever since. She was there while I was learning what it meant to be a wife and how to come to terms with two strong personalities trying to forge a marriage. She was there when I was a new mother, struggling to balance the responsibilities of raising a family and earning a living. She was there when I had life by the tail and when I was struggling, when I was proud of myself and when I felt defeated, when I was a supportive spouse and when I was an unreasonable harpy, when I was the cool mom and then when I was the disdained parental authority, when I was sure of my own worth and when in the quiet of the night I questioned my value. Through all of those things Claire has been a constant, experiencing a parallel, though far different, life. I am now in my 50s, and though through the magic of fiction Claire has aged slightly faster than I, we remain compatriots. Wisdom comes with experience and an appreciation for the frailty of life. Claire has certainly experienced that first hand and I’d like to think that I have gained a similar measure of wisdom. Like Claire, at this stage of my life, I remain passionate, loving and grateful for the blessings of a well-lived life. I’d like to believe that I learned a few things from Claire along the way. I certainly know that I am grateful she has been along for the ride. It has been a joy to see Claire celebrated and her character given such renewed attention! I look forward to seeing where our journey takes us next!

  40. Avatarsophiajames6@gmail.com

    I wonder what might be said of me at a distance of both time and years?
    Was I brave enough, kind enough, honest enough?
    Did I allow empathy and grace to rule me, truth and trust to guide my hands?
    It began with a teacup I suppose. Without Mrs Graham, without the vase, without the need for the knowledge of a plant I held
    only a vague recollection of, could it all have been different?
    Can one skewer time into those pieces worth keeping and throw away the other parts that are not, and yet still live?
    It was never men who made me strong. I always was. From the very beginning courage allowed me to save the lives of some
    and end the suffering of others without looking back. To apologise for too much is to nullify that choice completely and make it worthless.
    Like the sharp edge of a blade, Jamie called me , and he was right, life and death balanced in my hands and only weighed in hope.
    Yet sometimes strength holds flickers of regret.
    To leave a child in order to find what is left of your heart. Is that heroic?
    To wait for a husband to return from the warmed limbs of a lover and say nothing. Is that wise?
    I’ve walked to the very edge of loneliness and then come back to find myself reflected whole in the eyes of a man who let me be me, and more.
    The healing. The plants. The solid stubborness that sometimes was the only thing between success and failure, between right and wrong.
    I am Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randell Fraser and when all is said and done, I have survived.

    1. Avatarsophiajames6@gmail.com

      OOOps I have just worked out what fan fic is and my entry above seems to have broken the rules.
      So here is my reworked entry but this time with a different voice.

      CLAIRE
      Time has been kind to Claire Beauchamp. After fifteen years of history reading these books
      she is still relevant, brave, honest and inspiring.
      She never needed men to make her strong because she was always strong, but the men she did find
      only added to her strength.
      I always loved her choices, difficult choices often and ones she did not apologise for or lessen. She saved the
      lives of some men and she ended the lives of others. Courage lay in her blade and her medicine but so did compassion.
      Always for her life and death was weighed in hope.
      There was regret there too. Such huge life choices could not help but to make her wonder. Leaving a child to go to a man
      who held the balance of her heart, waiting for a husband to return from his lover and saying nothing.
      Loneliness came on the heels of her situation as well but she found a man who let her be her and fought for him in every way she could.
      I loved Claire’s healing skills and her mastery of the plants. I loved her concoctions of medicines and her constant empathy.
      Claire was a survivor in times when it was hard to keep living, in the second world war and in old Scotland.
      But she never lost her passion or her joy or her plain love of people and that’s what made her for me, just amazing.

  41. Avatargwhitman

    Claire…..

    From the beginning of Outlander to Written in My Own Hearts Blood, every time I think of Claire, I see love. For me, Claire is Love.
    When we first meet Claire, she and Frank are on a second honeymoon after being apart due to the war. While the re-acquaintance has some trials in getting to know each other again, we see how hard she tries to make sure that she and Frank work again. Claire is working for their marriage and love.
    Claire has love of country and her fellow man. During the war, she is a field hospital nurse, tending to those who proudly put their lives on the line for country.
    Finding herself through the Stones and what she intellectually perceives to be a different time in history, her confusion makes her wary. Yet when she sees a total stranger in need, Claire’s compassion shines brightly again. She had no idea if these strangers might harm her, still she saw a need and intervened.

    For those who have read the complete Outlander series (to date!), Claire’s love of Jamie, her family, her friends and all those strangers is evident. Claire cannot feign affection. It is not in her nature. Her love is real.
    Do we really think she wants to follow Frank to Reverend Wakefield’s? Probably not. Frank’s work might be important, but not her interest. She loves Frank and supports his research. Haven’t we all done something for love, not because we especially want to, but because we love?
    Resigned to her new life, Claire finds herself in love with Jamie. The deeply in love is not instantaneous and happens over time. That’s what it’s supposed to be. Love becomes deeper and truer over time.
    Love and time. Claire loves others with heart and hands. She heals others. Wherever life and time takes her, even when her heart breaks, she continues to do things for love.

    I am misty eyed as I write. I’ve had time to feel and think. Claire is a fictional character and she isn’t. We share things with Claire. Both the good and the bad. We are not perfect and I don’t think any of us pretend to be.

    We aspire.
    We find in Claire the strength to become the best we can be.
    We love in the way that makes us the individuals we are.
    When we break life down to its simplest components, we find love.

    Thank you Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall Fraser for teaching us LOVE.

  42. mandywhelan96mandywhelan96

    SPOILER ALERT

    I’m not a writer but this is a small essay on how I relate to Claire. It’s been a long time since I wrote anything none-scientific. A fun exercise on working unused muscles (my writing ones)

    Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall Fraser

    I was first introduced to Claire and the Outlander world when my sons were quite young. I read the first four or five books in quick succession (lucky me) and then had to wait like everyone else for Diana to write them. As each new one is about to be published I reread the series again from the beginning to refresh my memory and visit with these dear old friends.

    I relate to Claire on so many levels: daughter, wife, mother, and survivor.

    She is a daughter who lost her parents at a very young age and lived a very different life than most in her time thanks to being raised by her Uncle Lamb. I also lived a different life than most growing up. My father was a teacher and principal in two isolated north-western Ontario aboriginal communities for five years. By the time we left when I was ten, I was bilingual in Oji-Cree, had learned beading and how to make moccasins and mitts, and how to hunt, trap, fish, and live off the land. These early experiences shaped me as they shaped Claire.

    I was lucky to have both my parents in my life till my late 30’s when my father died of a brain tumor. Growing up, they made it a goal to show us the length and breadth of our amazing country. I have been as far west as the western end of the Trans-Canada highway on Vancouver Island (Tofino), as far north as Whitehorse and Yellowknife (when I was four), and as far east as L’Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland where the Vikings landed. We always drove and camped so I got a true appreciation for how vast and unique Canada is from one coast to the other.

    Claire is a wife in two time periods. I am married to a wonderful man who I met in university. We’ll have been married 19 years this August and together for 23. I can’t imagine a life without him. He supports me in all ways and is my best friend. Yes there have been rough times but we get through them together. Claire does that in spades twice over.

    Claire is a mother who has experienced terrible loss and gone on to experience the joy and frustration of raising a child. I too lost my first child as Claire did. I was only 12 weeks along but that pain stayed with me for years. Once in a while I wonder what he or she would have been like. The most amazing thing about having a miscarriage is finding out how many others went through the same thing. The support and comfort they lent me was invaluable, as was the advice. I now have two quite amazing sons who will be 16 and 13 later this year. They could not be more different from one another but they are both kind and empathetic boys/young men.

    Claire is a survivor and amazingly resilient. I don’t know how I would react to suddenly being 200+ years in the past. I hope I would be smart enough to be able to adapt and survive for at least a few weeks in such a foreign environment, surrounded by customs and people I don’t understand, but I really don’t know. She has survived events that can break others but still manages to keep going. Sometimes the scars of those events rear their ugly faces but she continues on with and without the support of her husband(s) and family. Some of the events and people she survives speak to me and some don’t. My heart aches for Claire regardless of whether I have experienced those horrors or not.

    Claire is my hero and I think of her as a dear friend. While I will never meet her in person, I feel I know her intimately. She resides inside me and her trials and triumphs resonate in me. I cheer for her, and cry for and with her every time I pick up one of Diana’s books.

    Claire is me and she is you. At least parts of her are. I think every woman who reads this series finds the parts of Claire that resonate within her and that is what makes Claire such an amazing character – flaws and all.

    Mandy

  43. beth wessonbeth wesson

    CLAIRE MAKES ME PROUD I’M A WOMAN…A REFLECTION.
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    Sometimes when I write, the ideas come quick and demand to be written immediately. Sometimes ideas need to simmer like good soup. I’ve already written quite a bit about Claire and I wondered if there was anything more I could say. The question, “Why is Claire important to me?” kept simmering in my mind’s soup pot. Soon, as it often happens, the answer to my writer’s question began to form through the colliding of seemingly insignificant events and knowledge.

    The world very recently celebrated International Woman’s Day. Busy with my grandchildren, I sort of missed it. Two days later, I was given a picture of myself hugging my oldest granddaughter and it kick started my thinking about women and my role in womanhood. Of course, I blogged about it.

    https://bethwesson.wordpress.com/2015/03/09/when-you-are-a…-is-womans-day/

    My granddaughter laughingly said,” I feel like I’m reading a history lesson about civil rights!” In a way she was. I wrote about how each generation of women has helped to create the wonder that is my granddaughter.

    Writing that article helped me answer part of my question. Why is Claire important to me? Because she is a wonderful example of the women who have gone before and paved the way. She is a wonderful example of women who had the courage to break out of gender-based roles and show the world women could be strong. She shows us that women can be all things; strong, kind, tough, gentle, smart, and intuitive.

    The second half of my question was answered while writing an article about laughing at life. I was thinking of events both good and bad that have happened in my life and wondered if there was anything I would change if I could. I always come to the same conclusion…No… because I don’t know how those events shaped the woman I became. I wonder if Claire would come to the same conclusion?

    We all bring our experiences with us when we read and I brought the story of Corrie Ten Boom with me when I read Claire’s story. Corrie Ten Boom was a Dutch Christian spinster, who saved many Jews from the concentration camps and then was interned for her actions. She lost many family members to the camps including her beloved father and sister. She survived and then spent the rest of her life travelling the world telling her story of how there was no pit so deep that God was not deeper still. Corrie carried with her a bit of needlework to use as a visual representation of how life works. She would first show people the underside of the needlework. They would see nothing, but a mess of different colored thread crossed and knotted. If they looked very closely they might be able to see a pattern, but it wouldn’t be clear. Corrie would then say that is because we can only see the underside of life and we don’t know why certain threads are used or how. The dark threads she points out might be as important as the light. She would then turn the cloth over to reveal a beautiful crown.
    No one could accuse Claire of having lived a soft life. She lost her parents at a tender age and spent her formative years travelling in third world environs. I believe these seemingly “dark threads” helped to form Claire’s coping skills, attitudes and values.

    Why is Claire important to me? Because she is a good example of how to learn from all of the experiences of your life. Her experiences served her well. She learned how to handle whatever life threw her. She learned what is worth spending your energy on and what isn’t. She learned valuable lessons about what is truly important in this life and her exposure to different people and cultures helped her know herself which in turn helped her gain a heart for people.

    Over and over again we were able to read of Claire adapting to change and unexpected situations. She may have expressed concern, dismay and even grief, but she always picked herself up, dusted herself off and found a way.

    Why is Claire important to me? Because she shows us a woman can persevere and adapt. She always finds a way to make the best life for herself with dignity and often with humor. I have always admired her ability to laugh at the ironies of life.

    I can’t think of an example when Claire was a willing participant in any kind of malicious gossip or intentional hurtful behavior toward another woman or anyone for that matter. Oh, there were people she didn’t care to spend time with, but even that choice was never spiteful. Claire has just learned it is best to avoid poison people and situations if you can. She doesn’t dwell on people whose values and views don’t match hers. If she doesn’t want to cover her head, she doesn’t. If she wants to spend her time healing the sick, she will. Why is Claire important to me? Because she shows us that it is possible to live without the approval of other women or men. She doesn’t need others to validate her or her choices.

    That doesn’t mean she won’t fight if she has to! Why is Claire important to me? Because she stands up for what she believes is right and doesn’t sweat the small stuff. How many times throughout the story do we see Claire ride or walk or crawl for that matter to right injustice, many times at her own peril and to Jamie’s frustration. We see her leave her husband to care for a ship full of plague, fight to stop the slaughter at Culloden and even offer her daughter the option of an abortion. On the other hand, she does not easily take offense, is tolerant of other’s beliefs and does not need to always be right.

    Why is Claire important to me? Because she is a wonderful example of a woman who knows what is really important in life. Claire knows that in the end it is all about relationships and people. I credit her experiences of travelling the world and having few possessions for teaching her this lesson that so many folks come to realize late, if ever. I never read of Claire being worried about possessions, or fashions, or money, or position. She is not motivated by greed or political gain. If they have enough food, clothing and shelter, Claire is happy. It isn’t that she doesn’t enjoy nice things; she does, but, she doesn’t need them. It is very telling of her worth that the “things” she does treasure are never her own purchases, but rather gifts like the Indian amulet and her medicine chest.

    And finally, Why is Claire important to me? Because she is a woman who knows her own worth and mind. Claire doesn’t bother with false modesty. She knows what she is good at and uses those gifts and abilities to help others. Conversely, she knows what she isn’t good at and circumvents her weaknesses. One of things I most admire about Claire is her lack of guile and her unwillingness to lie to herself. Time and time again, we see her take ownership of her thoughts and feelings even when she doesn’t like what she is thinking or feeling. There is real power there. It is difficult to be manipulated when you own your “stuff”.

    For all these reasons and more, Claire is a woman to be admired and emulated. Truly, I could point to her as a proud example of womanhood. I believe Claire’s example of what it means to be a good and proud woman will stand the test of time. Ms. Gabaldon has written a woman for the ages. She represents the epitome of what it means to be a woman of worth and substance. Claire makes me proud I’m a woman.

  44. MistahbueMistahbue

    What does Claire mean to me? Wow

    First time I’ve ever put this to words so please forgive my rabbit trails.

    This past week I was on phone with my Mother and we were getting names and dates together for me to plug into our online ancestry page. As I started making connections with various this xxx great grandparent it really jumped out at me that the stories – very few – passed down had a lot of our history jumbled up. I looked and saw direct links from me all the way darn near to Noah that lead me to Scotland, Ireland, and England.

    Fast forward to later in the day and I’m reading (SPOILER ALERT if you’ve just started the series) Claire’s narrative about the latest goings on at Fraser’s Ridge. It hit me like a bolt of the blue – Diana Gabaldon has created someone who is very much like one of my however many times great Grandmothers – in that time and place. And I love her. Not because of the popularity of Outlander – I myself had NEVER heard of the books prior to the series (thank you my friend Catriona R for insisting I read them). I love her because she is a reflection of the footsteps that lead to the present – and to me.

    I love Claire because she embodies the spirit of the people who for whatever reason found themselves on the shores of this new world. I love Claire because I see a code in her fictional character that really did live on in those mountains. I know Fraser’s Ridge isn’t real. But my ancestors dotted those North Carolina mountains for numerous decades before leaving for lower ground in Tennessee and Georgia. Claire experiences life as they did – encounters with Indians (my GGGGrandmother is Cherokee/Shawnee married to a Scot); learned to live off a land that had plants she may or may not have seen from across the large pond. When she is mixing herbs, roots, or leaves I can hear the voice of my Grandma saying ‘now you take this plant here and….’ I love Claire because she wants to teach what she knows. She doesn’t want her ways to die. She wants a future to know how the Old Ones survived.

    I love Claire because family is the most important thing in the world to her. Not convenience, not worldly goods, money, etc… The love of her clan, her kin. Even though she is outside her own time she understands that without family there is nothing. Warts and all she accepts her family and to hell with the rest of the world.

    I love Claire because she makes me long to know my long passed ancestors. Oh to just be able to sit down and have a cup of coffee or tea with them for an afternoon chat!!!

    Thanks for letting me ramble
    Happy St Patrick’s Day
    Happy St Gertrude’s Day
    Sláinte

  45. AvatarJAMIES TX GIRL

    Every Womans’ Claire

    Claire- a woman who began as the love of one man yet never let go of what she felt was her calling, her aspirations. She did as she must to follow her dreams. A woman of strength, courage, and determination who showed us that no matter the situation you can find your way through it. Claire embodies that dream. It is that ability to be who you need to be at the moment, that critical moment that forever will change your life, and yet with that vunerability to let go. Letting go to be loved, forgiven, remembered, embraced, and loved. Claire continued this path as she passed again, and again through the stones. She inspired us. We will never be the same thanks to our heroine. She had shown me via her struggles, tragedies, and triumphs that love will find you again. That there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I love Claire, her beauty, her style. It always shined through, and that is how Jaime was never the same – Ever. Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall Fraser – Mrs Jaime Fraser- How could you not love her!

  46. kladislauskladislaus

    Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser Randall Fraser Grey Fraser, Our Claire

    Our dear Claire, she is so many things to so many people. Most would agree she is a fascinating character. While it is said she has a glass face, she does manage to wear many masks with great success. Let’s take a peek under a few.

    First, Claire the orphan. That may seem strange aspect to focus on in view of the larger part of her story. However, the death of Claire’s parents set the stage for everything that follows for the character. Growing up travelling all over the world with an archaeologist uncle who raised her from age five to nineteen, while making her a very worldly woman, never allowed for “home”. Even gypsies have a caravan home. Claire had who knows how many temporary homes around the world she had growing up.

    The desire for home, a sense of place is probably one of the larger reasons at so young of age Claire was ready to marry Frank. He was older, well-situated career wise and likely offered stability, and he loved her and she loved him. Unfortunately war erupted and separated them for years and “home” was postponed.

    Let’s think a moment on what is required from a nurse in a triage environment. Doctors and nurses need to focus on the patient and wear a mask of calm. A man with a missing limb or dangling vital organs isn’t going to have a hope of making it if the medical staff give them looks of horror and surprise are they? Claire has over and over shown us that mask of calm with her patients. Let’s call it the healer’s mask, the one that gives you courage when you need it most.

    That is where we meet Claire. She has just finished years of working as a field combat nurse. The only blood relative she had, dear Uncle Lamb is killed during the war in a London bombing raid. Leaving the sole person left in her life to love and to love her, her husband Frank. Frank is her everything. One never learns if Claire has friends, any gal pals. There is something a little lonely about Claire, yet she is not afraid to be alone. She has worn a mask of brave face under what must have been great sadness.

    When Claire falls through the stones, she manages to hide her fear from the Highlanders as well as Captain Jack Randall. Her feisty continence has been throughout all the books, what I call her “fear-naught” mask. Even though she may be worried about the outcome in many situations, Claire wears her “confident” mask and does not give herself away to her enemies.

    My favorite Claire mask isn’t a mask at all, but a skill Claire keeps under her hair in that intelligent brain of hers. Her witty sarcasm, especially when it comes to social commentary, is truly art. That and her references from her own time have given the reader some very fine moments when Claire has left Jamie wondering, “What was that”?

    Returning to the Claire the orphan, she has always looked for home. Yes, Jamie Fraser, her soulmate and the great love of her life is her anchor and spiritual home. But Claire also sojourned a very long time looking for a physical place called home. She had hoped Lallybroch was that place, but it wasn’t meant to be. Fraser’s Ridge became the home she craved. For the times she was away from it, she yearned for it, to be home again. As Claire ages, and we see her frailties begin to show a little, I find myself wanting her to finally have that happy ending of home and family. No more masks, just perfect contentment for her. I want that happily ever after ending for our Claire.

  47. beth wessonbeth wesson

    I just wanted to say WOW! Had a chance to finally read the submissions! Wonderful. Thank you all for sharing. Sorry mine is on here a couple of times I didn’t see it had posted. I’m a bit tech savy less!

  48. Avatarvidochka

    There are many reasons why I love Claire! She is a beautiful, stubborn, passionate and independent woman. Things she encounters on her life journey are incredible and one could hardly imagine someone could survive such forces. And I am only in the middle of the second book, eager to know what she will have to encounter next.

    But her strength makes me think of someone very dear to me – my grandmother. Things she went through in her life. Born into a big family her childhood was full of responsibilities of taking care of her siblings when her father and brother were taken to a concentration camp. Not being able to speak her mother tongue during war and always being careful of what she was saying not to provoke her safety or safety of her family. I still remember the chills I felt when she told me of the day when the army entered her village and demanded information on the location of local boys and men, fighting for their homeland. And how a young man she knew so well, now a soldier, pulled out the rifle and pointed it to her sister who might as well be his sweetheart from earlier days and demanded answers. My grandmother grabbed the rifle – that cold metal killing machine and leaned it to her chest and asked him to kill her at once if he can not remember that they grew up together and played in the same fields and sang the same songs…
    She also told me of how she was, without knowing, an important messenger on her bike carrying only one word – “YES” to the neighbour village, scared, puzzled but brave enough to reach her goal and deliver the message.
    It seems as if it all has been a preparation for what life would throw at her – for the stroke after giving birth to my dad and a huge loss she had to endure after losing her husband at only 35 years old, left with two children and a farm. But she kept on going, surviving, moving on in life always vibrant and strong despite all. It is the quality that Claire represents as well and it is something I strive for myself.

    And the funny part is, my grandma has a framed photo of Stonehenge in her living room – a place she always wanted to visit. Hmmmm – I wonder why? Might she be a time traveler herself?

    Happy Birthday Babi! I love you!***

  49. Avatargailkr

    Hello All – I’m training a new puppy so I’ll be short and sweet…

    Claire embodies what I wish to cultivate in myself. She is courageous, honest in her opinions (and in bed), intelligent, and possesses physical and spiritual beauty that gets better as she ages. While she may be “Queen” to Jamie’s “King”, I truly appreciate all her references to the many everyday matters of being a woman, especially one entering menopause. When does a modern day heroine ever speak of her period, the use of almond cream in the bedroom, or hot flashes? This brings our Claire down from the pedestal in which she is sometimes placed, and makes her someone most women would love to have a conversation with over a cup of coffee – I love that about her!

  50. Avatarsophiajames6@gmail.com

    I love reading the submissions. How wonderful Diana is to write about a woman who has been relevant
    in our lives for so many years and across all the changing phases and problems.

  51. marthamartha

    Claire.Just a name? Just a woman or a woman that we would like to be?
    What if your future was your past, and your past became your future? What would you have done?
    Don’t we always wonder, what if? Claire give us the opportunity to enter a time travel, which is not only a travel in time, but a travel in our souls. She is someone we would like to be; passionate, true, lover, mother, friend, fighter, pioneer in both time periods. She is strong, but at the same time vulnerable, she is stubborn, but this stubbornness, can be a weapon, as long as she uses it right. She makes mistakes, but of course, this can only be human and she gets to learn from them. She is beyond her time, whether it’s the 20th century or the 18th century. She is a teacher, but at the same time a teacher.
    What does Claire teach us? But of course the meaning of life, the purpose of everything: love. It might sound simple and naive, but that’s the truth. Everything she conquers is due to love. That’s is what she subconsciously advices us. If we love those around us and we love what we are doing, we can conquer the world. Our own world, our everyday life.

    So, that’s my petit essay on Claire. 🙂

  52. elizlkelizlk

    It quickly became clear that Claire is a woman who doesn’t put up with being told what she can and can’t do. She had me at “… and so can St. Paul,” early in Outlander. She takes on challenges – both the ones she creates, and the ones thrust on her – and guts it out without whining. She uses her smarts and her skills, and even her body when necessary. She definitely has “courage to change the things she can,” even if she sometimes doesn’t exercise the “wisdom to know the difference.”
    I’ve gone back to the Outlander books at various points since I first read Outlander in 1995. I use them as a great escape read, because Claire and the other characters draw me in to their stories. They are a sure-fire way to close down my “monkey brain” before sleep.
    More recently, I’ve found Claire’s character useful as inspiration for challenges in my own life. Particularly as we are both older, and she shows more vulnerability. I’m re-reading Written In My Own Heart’s Blood now, and we have some things in common. In Ch 118, The Second Law of Thermodynamics, Claire worries that her efforts don’t matter, and has flashbacks to being assaulted and raped that can immobilize her with fear, if she allows it. She has Jamie to serve as support and foil, and I envy her that partnership. I realized today that I can use Claire, in part, to remind me that what I’m struggling with is worthwhile, and that I can’t allow fear to get into my head. Claire’s story is a reminder to find the courage I need to keep fighting.

    Thanks again to Diana Gabaldon for writing such powerful characters, and to Terry for asking for this reflection.

  53. AvatarTory-Ann Torres

    Who is Claire, do we really know. Where did she come from. Diana Gabaldon says that Claire talks to her. Diana always makes it sound like Claire really talks to her. I am never quite sure what she means when she says that.

    Could Claire be the embodiment of the hopes and dreams of woman through out time. Is Diana able to pluck this from the Cosmos during her midnight musings. I recognize myself when I read about Claire’s ability to take things in stride as she travels and explores the 18th century world with her beloved Jamie at her side. My husband is from Cusco Peru and we have traveled there many times during the past 28 years of marriage. (Spoiler Alert)….

    It often felt like I was stepping back in time when I went there. I can empathize with Briana and Roger as they strive to raise children who can thrive in two worlds. It is exciting to live like that but not for the faint of heart. And then there is Master Raymond. He is a part of Claire as well. We do not even know where his story will take us. There really are a lot of unanswered questions surrounding how time travelers are connected and how far back in time. I am sure Diana has some idea. Tantalizing nuggets of information are strung out throughout Diana’s books and novellas.

    Claire’s story that captivates me every time I start the process of reading the books again. I am currently sitting in the galley with Aloysius O’Shaughnessy Murphy and watching as he tries to prepare a tempting broth for a very sea sick patient. I do not have a favorite book in the series because my favorite is what ever one I am currently reading. The character of Claire is so multifaceted that I can not get enough of reading about her. Take note of how she befriended Mr Murphy. “Saffron” she told him, “Cardamom, and vanilla beans from Ceylon” she said firmly. Claire tailors her approach to the situation. She is a wizard. She works magic. But her heart can still be broken. Claire is vulnerable and she feels the pain of loss. As in real life, she and we, cannot have all of our loved ones with us all the time. Pain is part of our experience.

    The ability to sacrifice both love for duty and safety for love is a part of the warp and woof of the fabric of Diana’s story about Claire. Sacrifices can be painful and they give us character, and make us stronger, more vibrant. Sacrifice is the foundation of every one of the books. The story of these sacrifices throb with life. I may never know for sure how Diana came to write about Claire but Claire’s sacrifices give me courage to push myself past what feels comfortable, to challenge my self, to cut through barriers, take calculated risks, to reach out to those who I love and to the world at large and to see the core of who and what they are and embrace it.

  54. Stormy PetersonStormy Peterson

    Claire Beauchamp: An Eighteenth Century Riot Grrrl

    Claire Beauchamp was born a wild woman; intimately connected to her sacred untamed nature from the start, vividly illustrated by the failed attempt at enrolling her in boarding school. Not even Uncle Lamb, and his unconventional child rearing methods can take credit for the ferocity of the ancient feminine burning within our young heroine. Orphaned, underestimated, and unexpected to have any sense of agency over her own person, this child quickly becomes her own advocate by demanding better, and more for herself, her life, and her future taking, quite possibly, her first step toward becoming the accidental feminist she spends the rest of her life being. Following no one else’s guidelines or framework for how a “liberated” woman is supposed to be, she however, observes, and sources from the lives around her in order to create the woman she is continually becoming, always incorporating the new material with who, and what she already, naturally, is. It is when she is faced with the input of others, or criticized that we see her internally question herself, and struggle to reconcile who she is with who others think she should be, and see her trying on different roles both in her present time, and her eighteenth century life when it is suggested that her approach to life or a certain circumstance is incorrect leaving us to witness a woman slowly suffocating beneath the socially acceptable mask of “propriety” culminating in an extreme, or desperate action to breathe again (shattered wine bottles, and ruined dinner parties come to mind), but always the return to center — her most inherent self is the conclusion.

    Through Claire we learn that authenticity is not a glamorous or tidy business, and can only be dressed up in a package that meets societal expectations when society itself is no longer determined to deny its dire importance. Women are neither served, nor serve well whilst striving to attain a standard not created by any consensus of their own by altering themselves in order to be nice, likable, or neutral. Claire may keep quiet to save herself, and those around her from dangerous situations (and sometimes even that’s a task!), but she’s never going to “shut-up” or play herself down in order to make other people more comfortable with themselves, meanwhile demonstrating an inclusion that is rare in female sisterhood even today. Claire is a spectacular contradiction; a one woman revolution coupled with Caitriona Balfe who comes across both personally, and on screen as someone as effortlessly unapologetically herself as the character she is portraying, I am reminded of Laurel Thatcher Ulrich’s words: Well behaved women seldom make history. Claire Beauchamp isn’t making history, she’s reinventing it.

  55. Liana111Liana111

    Claire. Claire Beauchamp. Claire Randall. Claire Fraser.
    Nurse. Wife. Mother. WOMAN.

    Now more than ever, women are standing up and fighting for their rights; to have equal pay; to finally be acknowledged for their talents and skills; and most of all, to be regarded as equal. Now more than ever women need strong female role models who will encourage them to fight for their voices to be heard, to stand tall and proud, to be strong in the face of adversary, to embrace their differences and not to conform to the norm.

    Claire embodies all these things and more. Even as a young woman living in the 1940s Claire was a woman who was ahead of her time. Losing your parents at a young age and being a nurse in World War II will do that to a person. At a young age Claire gallivanted to exotic places with her Uncle Lamb, who was an archaeologist. She experienced things no “normal” English child would have, and met all kinds of different people from all walks of life. Her colourful childhood would have enabled her to have an open-mindfulness when it came to people who were of different cultures and religions.

    As a woman in her early twenties, Claire witnessed many horrors as a World War II nurse. She would have been confronted with blood, loss of limb, post-traumatic stress disorder and death, yet we know that she was a brave and compassionate nurse whose patients were always her first priority. At the same time, though, she must have been missing her husband Frank greatly. Did she stop and urgently search each young man as they came into her care, hoping against hope that her Frank wasn’t on one of the stretchers? No doubt she would have, but she still didn’t allow her attention to waver. Witnessing so many atrocious things strengthened Claire – just as it strengthened all the people involved in wars – soldiers and nurses alike. It was there that she realised that she had an inner strength that would later come in handy, especially in Scotland.

    Travelling back in time and having your world turned upside down would have anybody on edge and fearing for their lives, yet Claire didn’t take long to adapt and work out a plan to get back to the 1940s and Frank. However even though she was in a foreign place with foreign people her instincts as a nurse were still in place and she quickly set to work patching up Jamie and other highlanders. She carefully studied her surroundings and did her best to fit in – probably as she would have done when she was a young girl travelling with her adventurous Uncle Lamb. One of the things she had to do to survive was to marry Jamie – an arranged marriage to a man that she barely knew, with a husband waiting in the 1940s for her, and yet she did not shy away from this task, but rather faced it head held high- knowing that it was necessary for her survival. That didn’t mean that she had to like it, though, and Jamie soon learnt what he had gotten himself into. He wasn’t marrying a willing, submissive 18th century wife, but rather an independent, strong-willed, passionate woman from the 20th century. Claire was an enigma to him and to everyone else. She was unlike any other woman in 18th century Scotland – perhaps a reason why so many people were drawn to her, (in both good and bad ways).

    Going back to Frank after she had fallen in love with Jamie was not something she wanted to do, but something she had to do for the sake of her and Jamie’s unborn child. It must have been incredibly hard to leave somebody behind, knowing that you most likely would never see them again, yet Claire did just that. In the twenty years she was away from Jamie, Claire flourished – becoming a mother and studying to become a doctor. Jamie never left her mind, but she did not let that get her down and kept forging ahead – carving out a career for herself. Once again she was adapting to the time and environment she was in – something she had done her whole life. In the end, love prevails and Claire found her way back to Jamie after twenty years apart, and thinking that he was dead.

    Although the Outlander series can be classified as a ‘fantasy’, as none of us would ever travel through time (unfortunately), Claire is still the ultimate female role model. All the hardships she has gone through – such as losing a child, being separated from a loved one, and being assaulted are things that a lot of women can relate to. Being judged or labelled as something we’re not is also something we females face on a daily basis. Day after day we face challenges both in our personal lives, and in the wider world. Yet I believe that we as women are stronger than we realise; we are survivors, and I believe that if any of us were to be thrown back in time that we would find ways to survive as well; just as Claire has done. However, life isn’t always fair or easy, and I believe that having a strong female role model like Claire to lead the way and encourage us to empower ourselves and to stay strong during hardships, is a valuable thing to have, and I think all females who read the Outlander series will always be incredibly grateful to Diana Gabaldon for creating such an inspirational, strong, empowered female character, and to Cait for stepping up and bringing her to life with such grace and dignity.

    Now, if only we could all have our own Jamie’s too….

  56. AvatarMartina

    Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser

    I work downstairs from the Ether Dome at Massachusetts General Hospital, where the first surgery under anesthesia was performed. It was a discovery that changed medicine, and in the painting and photographs that memorialize the event, one aspect stands out. Every person in the pictures is male. There are no nurses, no female patients, no female students looking on and learning. Even today, a woman surgeon is a creature apart…someone driven to succeed, to learn, to accomplish great things.

    When I first read the Outlander books (pretty much within a week of the publication of each) Claire’s work life as a nurse during WWII was one of the things that made her special to me. There are many nurses in my family, and I know what it takes to be able to be kind and tough at the same time.

    In Voyager, when we learn that she has become a surgeon, she impressed me even more. For a woman in the 1950’s, married to a Harvard professor, with a child, to do everything that needed to be done to become a surgeon was just incredible. That an author could create a character that made me believe that she could do all those things was even more incredible. Claire really came alive for me then…she was a woman with an unbreakable will, and one who I completely believed would have been able to survive and thrive in the 18th century.

    To me, Claire’s love for Jamie is just one aspect of her remarkable character. She is drawn as a woman capable of great love, with an endless capacity to forgive, an ability to heal the insides and the outsides of her patients, and with a steely intelligence that helps her accomplish wonders in both her times. In some ways, I’m glad that it’s taken as long as it has to bring her to the screen, so that the team bringing her to us is as accomplished as she is…thank you!

  57. Avatarfleetinglogic

    These are wonderful essays, like a lovely book of gratitude. I wanted to add my own, about Claire’s relationship with Jamie, so not really within the guidelines, so I won’t place my hat in this amazing ring, but more cheering from the sidelines, as a fan of Terry and Claire and Diana G.

    When I was first told about the books, I’d been through a terrible break-up from a man who turned out to be incredibly dishonest in every way, and it broke me. Reading about Claire and her relationship with Jamie helped me to begin healing. What stood out to me was their fierce honesty and integrity, and loyalty to each other, with an equally fierce insistence on being treated with love and respect. For them, these qualities informed ‘right action’ (if I may co-opt a Buddhist term).

    The challenge for Claire and Jamie is that ‘right action’ could be very different between their two centuries, which has both humorous and horrifying results. But their insistence on right action continues (even when it demands risking their life), and to watch them try to navigate this, and consider where to compromise and where to refuse compromise, has been a great gift to me.

    I’m so grateful to Terry and Ron and their gifted team/village (teeming metropolis!), for bringing these books to life so impeccably, and introducing Claire and her compatriots and their ‘right action’ to a broader audience.

  58. Avatarsallybaker1968

    Claire,
    The moment I met you, I swear
    I felt as if something, somewhere
    Had happened to me, which I couldn’t see
    And then, the moment I met you….again.
    I knew in my heart that we were friends.
    It had to be so, It couldn’t be NO
    But try, as hard as I might do, I don’t know why
    You get to me in a way, I can’t describe
    Words mean so little
    When you look up and smile
    I don’t care what people say
    To me you’re more than a….Fictional character?

    Okay, so apart from the last two, those were the words of Irish songwriter Gilbert O’Sullivan, but they really do sum up my thoughts about why Claire Beauchamp Randal Fraser is just such a Rockstar!

    Now, I’m an Outlander Newbie!
    I saw a few pictures of ‘The Wedding night’ episode on Instagram and was like ‘Shut the front door!’
    What is this program and who are this gorgeous couple and where do I watch it?
    Then came the horrifying news from my American friends. It’s set in Scotland…with UK actors BUT…It’s not available in UK. What a downer!
    So after lots of research and late night chats I discovered that while I could only watch bits and bobs of the tv show on-line I could, in fact go the the source of the story and read the original books!
    Happy days!
    So my Christmas list consisted of Books 1-7 and in 4 months I’m on Book 7; An Echo in the Bone.

    Well, what an incredible journey I’ve been on with Claire.
    From WW11 1945 to Scotland 1743 then Voyaging around the World to the Americas.

    Throughout all the many situations she finds herself she’s a powerhouse of calm and virtue. A subtle mix of intellect and charming ladylike demeanor with a mouth that can on occassion ‘swear like a trooper’ as my Nan would’ve said. British Army medic 1945 will do that to a girl!
    This was a tough era to survive in and Claire knows what she has to do.
    A quick witted, straight talking, no-nonsense feisty minx, a capable nurse, battle experienced and comfortable within a group of men!

    This is the woman who ‘forgets her underwear’…(Oopsy, on purpose more like) while visiting a neglected castle with her Professor husband and in a wonderfully erotic planned seduction, directs him to go downtown on her, on a dirty, dusty table no less. Well I never…that was unexpected!
    Then they happily trot back to have tea and biscuits with the Vicar.
    I knew I liked her when I saw this scene and at this point she’s pretty much perfect.

    When she falls back in time and into Jacobite Scotland 1743, her first actions are shouting down and swearing at a British Officer, whose a rather nasty look-a-like of her Frank, and then calmly, confidently and very caringly popping back in a dislocated shoulder joint of a rather attractive and passionate young Scottish Highlander whose friends all think she’s a whore.
    All while wearing a thin cream dress in the rain!
    What a woman!
    It’s at this part of Claires story that her ability to adapt like a chameleon really set her apart and her struggles to forget or return to loyal Frank or to leave or stay with passionate Jamie take her on some heart wrenching decision making and ultimately shape the future Doctor and Surgeon she becomes.

    Frank loves her.
    Jamie loves her.
    I love her!

  59. Tgertsen21GTgertsen21G

    My thoughts on Claire Beauchamp:

    I have to say when it comes to Claire she is just an amazingly strong woman! “What a role model”. It would take bravery and courage along with a lot of daring to live in 1945 during World War II let alone in the wilds of the Highlands in1743.
    I am only going by what I know of Claire so far from the Starz Outlander series one and reading book one by Diana Gabaldon but I have completely fallen in love with her character.
    The one thing I love about Claire Beauchamp is that she makes me feel like I’m living the life she is telling along with feeling everything she has gone through in the process of trying to figure out how to handle all the differences of being a woman in 1743 when women didn’t have many rights compared to1945. Claire in 1945 had to learn to adapt to the war which I cannot even fathom some of the horrors she has had to witness while tending the injured, having to make quick decisions but at least she was able to make these decisions without repercussions.
    Whereas in 1743 men like Father Bane were good reasons to fear repercussions. If Father Bane could have he would have had Claire punished as a witch when she helped Mrs. Fitzgibbons nephew after he was poisoned (Claire was a bit stubborn about helping of course and gained an enemy in the process). Can you imagine helping a sick person and it being construed as witchcraft because the beliefs were so different from your own?
    If I would have dropped in 1743 I am not sure I could have survived as well as Claire did, she showed remarkable strength not just physically but emotionally as well as flexible in being able to adapt to her surroundings. You would have to be strong to loose someone you love like Claire did Frank, always defending yourself because at every turn someone like Father Bane and even the MacKenzies are suspicious of what or who you are. I know I sound like I am doing an essay on Outlander it’s self but I’m not! These settings are just as important as Claire is in that you get a feeling for what was happening around her.
    Claire brings so many feelings to life just sitting here trying to put what I feel for her on paper brings sorrow for what she’s lost, anger for what she has to endure and joy for what she finds true love (Jamie). How can you not fall in love with a character like Claire? Claire has her flaws but so do most of us and that is what makes her seem so real.

    Thank you,
    Tina Gertsen

  60. Avatarleslie

    Claire Elizabeth Beachamp Randall Fraser, she is every woman at one point in time, or any other. Her character is rich with strength, compassion, and love. I love this character because she is relatable. Through her own life experiences she deals with scenes that could come from anyone’s life. The loss of her parents, having to grow up faster than she should have, marrying young, and meeting someone that makes her heart skip a beat but isn’t her husband. These themes carry on through time over and over, no time travel needed to understand the conflict she feels and the weight of the decisions she must make. Although the story takes her through time to land roughly in the eighteenth century, the theme of her struggles are universal.

    Claire is strong, much stronger than she gives herself credit for being. Losing a parent or parents at a young age is a profound place to find yourself, the situation changes the way you see the world. I understand from experience Claire’s disregard for the rule of thumb. Loss of parents or a parent shows us that we can live through what feels like the worst anyone could throw at us. What punishment could possibly hurt as much, whose opinion or consideration could conceivably mean as much to her? This gives freedom, the edge one needs to truly make decisions that will bring happiness to your life, to Claire’s life. Claire’s upbringing with Uncle Lamb was not for the faint of heart, her life demanded strength at that time as it does when she finds herself in seventeen forty three with the Mackenzie Clan. Strength is what kept Claire from becoming a blubbering ball of a female when walking through the door of the cottage after Murtagh saves her. It is the same strength that allowed her to serve her country on the front lines of WWII. Claire’s strength is also shown in the ability to be vulnerable. Sometimes willingness to show vulnerability can be the strongest move to be made.

    Compassion is one of Claire’s best traits, she has the ability to empathize with those around her. Her compassion is what makes her a great healer. It is also this compassion that allows her to take her situation with some sense of stride. The people around her are living rough; she knows a better, easier life will be had in the future but she doesn’t begrudge them for not having the comforts she is used to. Claire has a strong sense of what is right and what is wrong; her compassion for others drives this sense of fairness and justice. Claire feels with her whole heart, her compassion makes her ever loving of life and eventually those she finds herself with. Her willingness to take on the task of stopping the massacre at Culloden Moor; her willingness to do everything she can to change the history of a country is amazingly brave and heartfelt. A lesser person would not have had the gumption for such a noble cause.

    Love is apparent in Claire. She has love in her heart and soul. Her love for Jamie transcends time and space. Love is at the core of this character. She loves her first husband Frank, she is desperate to find a way to reconnect with him before her trip through the stones. She continues to beg for compassion for Black Jack Randall in Jamie’s dealings because of her love for Frank. She falls completely in love with Jamie and risks life and limb to save his life and his soul in the first book, and she continues to not only love him but be in love with him over their twenty year separation and the years they spend together once reunited. She holds Jamie in her heart and her love for him overflows. This love she has is given to Jamie’s family with no strings, to Fergus and Bree, to Roger, and all their grandchildren. Claire finds love in her heart for Marseli and eventually compassion for Loaghire in the sense that she doesn’t want to see the woman hurt or sad. Her love is boundless, her love is real, and her passion for life resonates from this place of love. Love drives Claire to take chances others may be too afraid to contemplate. From saving Jamie at Wentworth; taking the trip back through the stones to her own time; giving up her life in nineteen sixty seven for a chance to find her one true love. None of the obstacles in front of her are big enough to overpower her love for the people around her, and none of the choices she has to make are easy because of the love she feels.

    Claire’s character in the books, and in the television show are a wonderful demonstration of what it means to be human, to be a woman, and to be in love. Every woman can relate to finding an unbefore known strength in their lives when they needed it most. That strength is in Claire, balanced with her compassion for the world around her regardless of what time she finds herself living in. Most women strive to find this balance of strength and compassion in their own lives, their work and their children and families force all women to be more than just one or the other. Love is another reason I love Claire and this story. All women, and men I would assume want to find a love that is true and lasting. A love that can take on all obstacles and come out the other end. Claire’s devotion to Jamie and to his family is a trait everyone looks for in their mate. The relationship Claire has with Jamie is a partnership of love, they are in this life together and no amount of struggle will defy that love. They share their lives with each other and their love for one another in the way we all want to be loved. The passion they show for each other, in anger, in lust, in the everyday things they do for each other are how we want to be treated. Claire is a woman in love, through all the pages and shows we know she is in love and will do anything, go anywhere to keep that love alive.

    I hope you enjoy my take on Claire, I found the books after I started watching the television show and I have read all eight books. Some more than once. I truly appreciate the wonderful job done on the show and I am eagerly awaiting Diana’s book nine.

  61. CrisCris

    His love guided me to the standing stones, my hearth told me to stay, the destiny made us met, to be together has been our choice. My name is Claire Beuchamp Randall and this is my story. My life has never been that simple, I lost my parents. I spent my chilhood in so many different places. I chose a carreer not easy at all, I joined in the army as professional nurse and I married the only man I have ever known. The war took as apart, just one promise kept us alive: ‘Claire Randall come back to me’. He loved me. 5 years was a long time,we survived, we faced so many different experiences. I am not proud of all of them anyway, even now I wonder so many things Frank would not tell me. My guess is the war changed Us, it took a part of Us away, a piece of our lives that would never be back again. We sow terrible things, people died in my arms and I could not just prevent it. Our conscience was carrying an heavy burden, as far as I forced myself to believe, that nothing had changed, I totally knew that anything would have been the same again. Many things would be left in our memory’s oblivion, too painful sharing them. Frank was a sweet and caring man. He had so many interests, sometimes He tried to involve me, his enthusiam was contagious, but He did not succeed that often 😉 He was used to talk and talk I was fascinated and captived by His stories. Even when I was not paying that attention, His words managed to get impressed in my mind. I could have never imagine that, those stories, could save my life perhaps more than once. I was used to live in the present, ignoring the future, thinking there was no tomorrow. I have never called any place Home..untill then..
    I believe everything happens for a reason, there was a part of my hearth that claimed for more, I could not explain,but I felt something was missing. I did not feel completed, satisfied, that feeling was so strong, so pervading,but still i could not complain about my life. When we bump into the Druids, that dance was spellbinding,hypnotic, I could not stop watching them. I was totally captivated, for the first time in years I felt my pains released. It was like they were taking away my burden from me, I felt finally free after a long time. The following day I could not stop thinking about, that feeling was really gone. I needed to go back to that place to prove myself that something has appened, I need to feel that for real again. I believe the Druids opened the door of my future, somehow the standig stones were not just rocks, but a gate towards the place I belonged to. Catalpulted into another age, I tried my best to understand and not judjng things I did not know, that was the hardest part. There was another feeling running across my hearth. It was joy. Although I was torn, between my old life and the new one, I already knew what I want, and when was finally time to go back I just could not, it was not anymore about me, it was about Us. It was not between right and wrong, it was about love. I was upstairs, Jamie was downstairs outside the building, He had to lean to a pole to help himself, pain, suffering and the emotion to see me again were too much for Him. Jamie accept me, fell in love with me, trusted me when anyone else dared. Fearless, brave, stubborn, He proved myself right when anyone else would believe me. Young and fiery, He stole my heart and gained my soul. Frank Loved me, but I loved Jamie. Our hearts and our body, were just one thing. Two parts of the same thing. We knew life was not going to be that easy, but we were willing, to make it works. United we were stronger than apart, not because a contract, but due to love. Only Culloden could set us apart. My Name is Claire Beuchamp Fraiser and this my story.

  62. AvatarMaddclaire21

    I can sum up in one sentence why I love Claire Beauchamp. (Or should I say Fraser now?) Claire saved my life. It’s as simple as that. Or maybe she just helped me save it, I’m not sure, but it happened. Claire came into my life exactly when I needed someone to show me that it was going to be ok, that there was a light at the end of the tunnel, that if you were brave and strong you could get through anything. I found Outlander when I was going through some personal hardships, I fell in love with the story, the characters, the romance, the drama and all that came with, but Claire was different. I had never seen such a strong female character presented so well before. On my worst days I looked at her for guidance and wisdom. She was my liege through the darkness. A constant motto I repeated to myself was that if Claire can survive, so can you. My journey is far from over just like hers, but I have already learnt so much from this amazing character. How to be smart, strong and brave, how to care for others deeply, how to fall in love, how to be loved, how to think ahead. Claire has taught me all these things and so much more, I am forever in debt to her. I could make a 100 dot point essay on the reasons why I love Claire but the most important reason I love her is because she taught me to love myself, be myself and to look after myself.

  63. call_me_sassenachcall_me_sassenach

    Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser
    To Thine Own Self Be True
    Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser
    To Thine Own Self Be True

    I think we’ve all come to this blog with different designs of Claire in our heads- different ways to view and interpret her actions and her words. She is a rich and detailed character, but in a way she is more complete through the eyes in which you yourself view her. I have always been more intrigued by female characters than male characters and I think a huge part of that is that I tend to passionately love women who inspire part of me to try something different, to find something new deep inside of me, or love part of myself a little more.

    Loving a certain character has as much to do with YOU as it does with who that character is, and what is written about them by their author. A deep connection with a character is like a good friendship. When you have a connection with someone who is to become a good friend, the relationship is as much about who you are as it is about who they are. You are both equals in what makes that relationship so special and what you both bring to it. I think it’s the same with anything you deeply relate to, even stories or fictional characters.

    A lot of readers, myself included, love the story of Jamie and Claire, what they mean to each other- their deep love for one another. But what allows both of them to have such an intense connection and love is the fact that both of them are complete people before they meet. Yes, Jamie is young and Claire is technically married, but she has been off in the war for many years on her own, without Frank, and its clear that experience has shaped who she is significantly. When she passes through time she has nothing to rely on but her own wits, just like at the war front, and she does so with tenacity. There is so much to know and learn about Claire as a person and a woman, long before her story becomes tied to Jamie’s. And when she does become tied to Jamie she is no less of a fully developed woman, there is no less to learn about her, her love doesn’t overshadow who she is in the world. Who she is neither hinges on his love nor is it lessened by it.

    Caitriona Balfe, who breathes such incredible life into Claire, always seems to be exceptionally on point with her perspective of who Claire is. Speaking about episode nine, and the make up between Jamie and Claire, she said “when we have the other intense sex scene, I think that’s her saying, ‘look, I will love you with every fiber of my being, but not more than I love myself.”

    A woman like Claire would not be able to love someone else, like Jamie, as fiercely as she does- if she didn’t first and foremost love herself. And that, to me, is what bonded me with Claire. She makes choices and sacrifices for love, but none of those are sacrifices of who she is. She makes no apologies for who she is- even when it gets her in trouble- and she is has compassion for herself and acceptance of herself. It doesn’t make her perfect, but it makes her honest. It doesn’t make her blind to her own flaws, but accepting of them in herself and in others.

    Women today are assaulted with the idea that they should constantly be comparing themselves to the next woman. The feeling like, ‘I’m supposed to be all things’—is a feeling that women have every day and often have their whole lives. I think you are only able to let go of that expectation once you know all the things you are and you also know all the things you are not, but instead of feeling guilt over those things, you love yourself anyway. It’s also when others can come along and be equally accepting of that.

    So- the way Claire knows herself, carries herself, and loves herself is her best quality and the foundation for everything else she is able to be and do. And that is something every person could do more of in this world. True self awareness and compassion take a lot of work, but that is when we are our best selves, capable of great love and joy. And that is what I see in Claire that makes her an incredible character and woman.

  64. AvatarJamie Lynn Hunkins

    I think there are two events in Claire’s life that helped shape her in to the woman we readers love and the woman Jamie comes to love.

    The Day The Bowler Hat Flew Out The Window

    After Claire’s parents died, Uncle Lamb drove her to boarding school (when she was wearing the bowler hat Uncle Lamb did not like). Uncle Lamb was off on one of his archaeological expositions. Claire like a good young, orphaned girl, coming from a middle-class background in 1923, was off to boarding school. That was what was expected, she was only five years old.

    As we know, Claire was miserable about being left behind and she wouldn’t let go of the car handle. She stubbornly did not want to attend boarding school. Well, Uncle Lamb couldn’t leave Claire behind and quickly she was back in the car and he flings the hat out the window.

    On this day, Claire’s life became free. Free from the constraints of an orthodox upbringing in England. It was traveling the world with Uncle Lamb where Claire was educated. Here sense of home was different from the norm. Claire spent her childhood becoming accustomed to fairly primitive conditions. Surrounded by scholars and natives alike this is where Claire was molded into a self-reliant person.

    Life As A Combat Nurse

    As a field combat nurse during WWII, Claire experienced the ravages of war. She watched men die. Claire saw the pain of war injuries – those that heal and those that never heal.

    Claire hadn’t had much time with Frank as a married woman before the war started. Once again her sense of home differed from the norm. Home was an army medical tent where she was surrounded by doctors, other nurses, and the casualties of war. This has a profound effect on a person. Claire’s experiences made her a stronger person, a woman who didn’t like compromise, a woman not easily intimidated. Claire had become a warm, practical, independent woman.

    Passing Through The Stones

    When Claire ends up in 1743, it is her unorthodox upbringing and the strength she gained from being a combat nurse that helps her navigate her way through this strange, patriarchal culture. This is a brutal and raw place. The world around her is completely different from what she is used to and Claire finds a means for survival. She uses her knowledge of plants and nursing skills to help her get by at Leoch. While she is single-minded in her pursuit of returning back to 1946, the prospect of getting back becomes more distant. Claire’s unconventional sense of home eased the situation for her. Her strength, self-reliance, and practicality helped Claire survive.

  65. AvatarCaleidh

    Note to Terry: This was HARD. I’m used to writing “essays” with an academic voice but that didn’t work AT ALL for this one! I’m squeaking in just under the deadline. it’s 8:02 in Dallas :>) Teresa Epperson (twitter; tepperson0101

    I fell in love with Jamie Fraser over twenty years ago when the first Outlander novel was published. He’s a larger than life character: courageous, honorable, ruthless, romantic, intelligent and ahead of his time. He is also flawed as the best heroes are: prideful, stubborn, reckless, and wildly free, or at least he’s wildly free until he meets Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp (Randall). Claire provided the young man with no responsibilities beyond himself the motivation to grow up and make choices about his future. I discovered that it is impossible for me to describe why I love Claire so much unless I start with where her future intersected with an unimaginable past.

    If Jamie is larger than life, so is Claire, his equal as few women could ever be. She, too, is courageous, honorable, ruthless, romantic, intelligent, and ahead of her time. Claire exhibits these characteristics in ways that are uniquely feminine and incomprehensible to the men around her. She is a woman out of time, both her own and the one she is thrust into at Craig na Dun.

    We first meet Claire in the series tending to a mortally wounded soldier, literally holding his guts together and barking orders to others what to do to keep him alive. This scene shows her courage, ruthlessness, and intelligence beyond her training as a nurse. Because the 1940’s were still a time when women were subjugated to men, a male doctor takes over. His expertise without her intervention would likely have been useless. Her decision later in the books to go to medical school to become a surgeon is also emblematic of her courage and character. Even in the 1960’s it was unusual to find a female doctor, much less a female surgeon. She wields a scalpel in the same way that Jamie wields a sword, with precision, care, and impeccable skill.

    Nowhere is Claire’s courage and ruthlessness more on display than in the search for and rescue of Jamie. She refuses to accept anything less than finding him alive and then getting him out of Wentworth prison. She faces down cold and uncertainty, gypsies, English officers, Dougal McKenzie, wolves, and the worst villain ever to grace the pages of a novel with equal willingness to do anything other than give up. When Jamie’s own courage begins to flag she takes herself into the darkest place imaginable – Black Jack Randall’s mind – in order to save him from the horror of what he suffered. Using what she conjured, she mercilessly forces Jamie into his pain in order to purge the poison from his soul. Without that ability to be ruthless in the pursuit of healing, Jamie might have been lost forever. He certainly would have been lost to Claire.

    Claire’s honor shows through in many ways. She intervenes to help a young man in pain from a dislocated shoulder, even though she had just cautioned herself that staying silent was safest. She simply could not stand by when there was something she could do. She assesses the potential in the surgery at Castle Leoch and does her best to treat wounds and illness, even though she is essentially a prisoner. She willingly stands up to the superstitions and faith of the times in order to save a young boy’s life from poisoning, earning her the wrath of a deadly adversary in Father Bain. Her courage helps to cement the charges against her at the witch trial. She is willing to sacrifice herself to be burned as a witch rather than lie and send her friend Geillis to her death alone. When she first returns to her time she tries to get Frank to divorce her, knowing that her love for Jamie would eclipse any feelings she has or had for Frank. She stays in the marriage initially only because he insists he could not abandon a pregnant woman, and later because Frank loves Brianna so much that she is able to overlook his infidelity.

    Her romanticism is balanced by a wide streak of the practical. In the beginning of “Sassenach” she admires and wants to purchase a vase, a fitting metaphor for her life. Claire’s unconventional upbringing, nomadic even by today’s standards, followed by a long and bloody war likely influenced her romantic view of a married home life. That vase represents stability, a home, beauty, and all of the love that goes with those things. She mentions wondering what would have happened if she had purchased that vase, would things have been different. They would have been different indeed. Her choice not to purchase the vase more closely reflects the life that she was meant to live – one in which the container of all she considered stable, beautiful, and home is a man, not a place or a thing.

    Claire’s intelligence gives her an advantage when she finds herself on the other side of time. She is able to assess threats, recognize possible allies, use whatever resources she has at her disposal to do whatever needs to be done, and adapt in CLAIRE BEAUCHAMP | Terry Dresbach

    Terry Dresbach

    Outlander Costume Designer

    CLAIRE BEAUCHAMP

    144

    [Widget_Twitter id=”1″]

     Claire - Surgery_edited-2

    So, it has been awhile, since the contest ended.
    Buried deeply in Season Two. I have read all the entries, a few times, and honestly…I just cannot choose. There are too many great ones. Too many styles. Some are very beautiful, written by people with degrees in literature and english, some by those who don’t really speak english at all. Some long, some very short. But what they all share is beauty, passion and love. And after all isn’t that exactly the point? What I asked for?? All equally wonderful, and I refuse to choose between them.
    I promise, this is not a cop out nor a refusal to reward the exceptional. I fully anticipated making the choice of the top five. But there is something about the quality, the spirit, the heart of every single piece that cannot be dismissed.
    So, I give myself yet another enormous task, and that is a tshirt (MIGHT HAVE TO BE A COFFEE MUG), awarded for all entries. I need to figure out how to do that, how to ship to however many countries, and gather all the addresses, LOL. Surely, I am mad, but I am going to try.
    It may take a bit of time, as I do it in between the dodging of raindrops, but if you will just bear with me, I will get it sorted…somehow. Bear with me.

    [twitter_follow screen_name=”Draiochta14″]

     

     I have to say, if you are looking for something to read over your morning coffee, these essays are wonderful!!

    Claire tshirt_edited-3

    I have made no secret of my love for Claire. She is the reason I read the books so many times. So I thought we should send her some love.

    Write an essay about Claire. I will publish as many as I can, for as long as it makes sense.

    I will send a Claire t.shirt that I design, to the top five essay writers.  ( I am judge and jury!)

    Okay, give it some thought, dig deep. My kids will tell you that I am a pretty tough audience when it comes to essay writing! You don’t have to be Virginia Woolf or Toni Morrison, you just have to have passion.

     

    Deadline…TBD.

    If you have already joined this forum, your essays will automatically be posted. If you haven’t I need to approved them, and once I have done so, they will be available for everyone to read in the comments section.

    ***One additional note, as much as fun as it is to read, I have to respect Diana’s request about fan fic, or at least what I think her request is about it. Please only essays written in 21st century voice. Sorry***

     

     

    144 thoughts on “CLAIRE BEAUCHAMP

    1. ChrisChris

      I absolutely love your blog! I was able to listen to your podcast (with your husband) about the costuming for Castle Leoch the other day. So fun! I searched for other podcasts there were available and that Ron mentioned at the Outlander Paley Fest panel. Have they been taken down? He did say there was talk about including them in the DVD commentary. I am so sad that I didn’t listen to them earlier!

      Thanks for your time and effort you put into this blog, it’s fascinating! It’s a fun weekend indulgence from my lesson planning for my 31 3rd graders.

        1. motherhenmotherhen

          “Sight for sore eyes, ye ken!”
          It was so great to welcome the road party back to Castle Leoch. I hurried my large frame across the muddy courtyard unable to contain me joy at their safe return, grabbing and hugging Murtaugh who lifted me off me feet despite the hefty size. I was stopped short in my tracks at the site of a beautiful dark haired lass who was wearing little more than a dirty white shift. Pale, thin, hair wild about, she was dirty herself and lookin’ none too happy about it. The lass looked at me with her large eyes, guardedly. “We found her wanderin’ about and Dougal said bring her along”. She immediately spoke to me about young Jamie, severely hurt on the trip; she put his healing first and we tended to him right away. I then took her under my wing, unaware that this would be the beginning of a great friendship. Claire Beauchamp, as she called herself, proved to be invaluable with a love and vast knowledge of the plants, no fear at hard work, and delicate manners reflecting a good family upbringing. She spoke with an air of intelligence; her gentle voice always soft, her manner humble; always grateful for what folks did for her; eager to learn and understand our ways, but willin’ to take a stand need be.
          Throughout her stay at Castle Leoch, I gained a breath of knowledge about this Claire. She was a strong lass, energetic like a new filly – daring the horsemen to tame her. She had strong opinions about right and wrong and wasn’t afraid to stand up to the men; but most of all, showed a deep sense of commitment to the Highlanders, mending their wounds, physicking in the surgery, untiring in her efforts to heal folk and ease their pain at any hour of day or night. T’was the least I could do to send two of the kitchen help down to help her tidy up the place and sweep away the cobwebs. Heard tell from Dougal how she tended Geordie after a boar gouged him – overcame her own fear in the woods to minister to his needs and take him to a peaceful place as he lay dying; Dougal never saw her the same way after that, ye ken?
          There was also the time she come up against Father Bain who was givin’ my nephew last rights after St. Nick caught him in his kirk playing with his wee friends, one who had passed right before. My sister was wrought with tears when Claire burst into my father’s house claimin’ she had a cure – that me nephew was “poisoned” and not “cursed” as Father Bain said. Well, after she insisted the second time and pleaded with me sister and I, I told her to tend to the boy and I saw and heard Father Bain threaten her, sayin’ she was the devil’s agent! She showed no care for herself, but hurried to wee Thomas, bringin’ him back to the land of the living with her kind ministering and vast knowledge! Me sister and I could not believe our eyes!
          I’ve see Claire with young Jaimi too. They’d make a good match – Jaimi left young without his ma and I hear tell, Claire left without her folks at a young age; how she came so girlish and kind, raised without the love of a mother; and a gruff uncle carrying her here ‘n’ there around the countryside – not the place for a lady! But it made her strong-willed and able to stand up for what she believes to be right and we’re all the better for it. That strength and caring would be served well on young Jaimi. I’ve seen him with the local lasses. They’re not what he’s lookin’ for; they hold no interest in his eyes; Aye, what he needs is a woman with spunk; someone who could hold his attention but not falter under his manly gaze; one who could stand up to him, help him become the man I know he can be, handle the rough Highlander lifestyle, raise a family and handle the many challenges of the Scottish Highland ways. Aye, Claire has that, you know. She’s a soft outer shell holdin’ a wild cat inside. Jaimi would do well to mind THAT, ye ken?

            1. motherhenmotherhen

              thanks, ladies! sorry I’m not aware of fan fic but have now received an education from a friend…was just being spontaneous…not always thinking like a 21st century woman, LOL! I rarely post, but read a good deal. Enjoying all the details from Terry about the show; enjoying the expertise from many audience participants as well!

            2. AvatarTerry Dresbach Post author

              No worries, it is a great piece, thank you for posting it. I just wanted to let everyone know that we have to be careful.
              Again, thanks for participating!

        2. AvatarSuperTam

          Mother Claire – The Very Essence of Womanhood

          Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall is a woman out of time, not only in the 18th century, but in the very time she was born. Raised in an unorthodox manner by a loving but eccentric uncle, Claire escaped the institutionalized gender roles imposed on women of her time. Claire is strong and opinionated, willing go face to face with men at a time when a woman was taught to defer to all men. She is willing to get her hands dirty facing the greatest horrors our world has to offer, and still remains able to smile, laugh and engage in loving care on an individual level.

          Our modern society has struggled with issues of equality, and female equality has been and still is and unresolved problem. Along the way, women have gained the right to vote, burned their bras, chosen careers over children, chosen children over careers, and in every case been told that what they, as an individual, has chosen is wrong. Being a woman is full of the judgement of others. “You chose a career? You must be hard and cold and unfeeling. A man with breasts.” “You chose to stay home? You must be vapid and uninteresting, and unable or unmotivated enough to have a real job.” These judgements come from other women as well as men. We still struggle to understand what it means to be a woman. We were told that we can have it all, then we were told that we could have it all, but just not at the same time. Get a career first, then have kids. Have kids before your eggs are too old, then worry about a career. But you have to be married. Don’t marry and spend your live enslaved to a man. Don’t marry too young but not too old. You must live together first. There is no right answer, but there seems to be no escape from the inescapable din of the judgement of others.

          In pondering all that it entails to be a woman of our modern world, we can look to Claire as an example of womanhood that we can all emulate. Does this mean we all must be like Claire? The answer is yes, and no. Claire’s greatest and most singular characteristic is that of nurturer. She is the very essence of womanhood. To nurture means to ‘care for and encourage the growth or development of someone or something, to tend, rear, raise, support or foster.’ Many of these words lend themselves to the belief that to be a nurturer is nothing more than to be a mother. And that being a mother is not all it’s cracked up to be, is not enough, or even that if you don’t have children, you are lacking as a woman.

          Claire understands that to be a nurturer is the best way she can realize her full potential as a woman. She is inclusive, always seeking to bring those on the outside in to her circle of love and warmth. In Voyager, when 15yo Marsali is on the ship, alone, afraid, and in need of motherly affection and advice, Claire does not stand on past circumstances and keep the girl at arms length, mindful of resentments and full of pride. Instead, Claire gathers her in and loves her, teaches her and helps her to grow as a woman.

          Claire is passionate. She has been born with the gift of healing, and we see over and over again that she cannot walk past a person in medical need. Time and again, she is belittled, humiliated or dismissed by men, who think she is overstepping her bounds. Her reaction is not bitterness, resentment or anger, at least not in the long term! She stands up for herself, her capabilities and her intent to use her gift, regardless of their opinions, but also maintains a warm and living affection for men in general.

          Claire is not particularly domestic. She doesn’t really cook, or clean or spend her days managing a household the way a woman of either century was expected to do. She doesn’t apologize for this, or try to change and become a person she is not. More importantly, however, is the fact that she doesn’t look down on women who do fill this traditional role. She learns from them. She teaches them, and she cares for them when her set of skills is in need. Sheri Dew, an author, publisher, CEO of Deseret Book Company, and also a religious leader, has stated, “Few of us will reach our potential without the nurturing of both the mother who bore us and the mothers who bear with us.” Claire understands that it is not just Brianna to whom she has an obligation to teach, lift and aid, but all the people within her sphere of influence. She does not shy away from this responsibility, but embraces it, and is loved all the more for it. It is no coincidence that more than one soul calls her ‘Mother Claire’. She understands that she does not need to be like all other women to be valuable, and that all other women do not need to be like her in order to have similar value.

          Claire is a wiser, humbler, more patient person at 50 than she was at 30. She has learned from Jamie, but also taught him. She has changed for him, and also asked him to change. This has given them a loving, vibrant, growing relationship that both challenges and fulfills them. She is willing to stand her ground, even if those around her never come around to her way of thinking, but is also able to recognize her own faults and flaws and apologize and make amends. She has been dealt immense trials and often not been provided with much needed answers. She has endured long and painful situations that seemingly have no end. But Claire never stops being true to herself. In each situation, she finds a way through, and finds a way to blossom rather than just exist.

          Yes, in order to fully realize what it means to be a woman, we all must be like Claire. We must be true to who we are, and not bow to the dictates of our communities. We must recognize our obligation to use our gifts and talents to strengthen and lift those around us. We must learn that we don’t always have the answers, and sometimes we must ask for forgiveness. We also must offer forgiveness, acceptance, and inclusion. We must be ourselves. Just as Claire never stops being and doing all that makes her ‘a rare woman’, we must have the strength to recognize that we are all rare women. We are all valuable and our strengths and talents are needed to make our communities whole and complete. We must be ourselves in order to be like Claire.

          Claire EB Fraser is the friend who, when I’m with her, doesn’t make wish I was more like her. She makes me wish I was more like me. And she offers me the strength to keep trying. May we all nurture one another in the name of true womanhood.

          1. AvatarRebecca Hoffman

            Very well said! “We also must offer forgiveness, acceptance, and inclusion.” One of my favorite traits of Claire is her ability to forgive. It’s not that she doesn’t get upset but she has the ability to forgive and move on. I’m still working on that.

        3. AvatarHolly Anderson

          Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall Fraser is a role model to every woman who’s been called a bitch. No, Claire is not a bitch. Claire is a strong, independent, caring, self assured woman. She stands up for herself, which was not popular in her present time, nor in her past time. She is the woman that refused to be who Diana Gabaldon initially saw. She stood up for herself and started bossing all those Scots around, which was not very well taken by then.

          Claire had two profound moments in her life that made her the woman she is throughout the book series. One, she was orphaned at age 5, and two, she went back 200 hundred years in time at age 27.

          If Claire had not been orphaned, she would not have had an unusual childhood, as she told Geillis Duncan. Claire would have been conformed to society of the 30s and 40s and, god forbid, been a 50s housewife. Not that there’s anything wrong with the 50s housewife. But, Clarie’s parents did die in an automobile accident. Therefore, she was raised by a bachelor, Uncle Lambert, who raised Claire to think, act independently, and see the world in all its’ peculiarities. Claire spent so much time with Uncle Lamb, and probably the men that worked for him, that she saw the world through a man’s eyes. She was able to experiment, and learn what makes men tick.

          Claire is more comfortable around men because this was her world. She learned from them, experienced life through them, and has more of an understanding of men than women. She saw men speak their mind. She saw Uncle Lamb persevere in his field of study without thought to his looks, or living conditions, home decor, etc. Through Uncle Lamb, she learned to have a passion for her calling. This all impacted how Claire saw the world.

          The second moment is Claire’s life that had a profound impact on her was going through the stones back 200 years. Because of Claire’s upbringing, she was able to survive. But, because of meeting Jamie Fraser, she became the woman she is.

          In her life with Frank, prior to going through the stones, Claire was a wife who wanted to make her husband happy. She met Frank when she was young and was drawn to him because he was older, a learned man, a man with a passion, like Uncle Lamb, and a man she was physically attracted. If she would have never met Jamie Fraser, Claire would never have found her true self. It would have been squashed because of the conventions of the time and what Frank eventually expected of her.

          By going back 200 years, she became a modern woman. She had to stand up for herself to try to get back to the stones. She found an ally in Jamie, who accepted her unconditionally. Because Jamie accepted her and loved her for who she is, she became solid in herself. She knew her identity. It was reflected in Jamie Fraser.

          When analyzing Claire and her back story, I soon realized that Claire has many masculine traits that makes her understand the world she is thrown into in 1743. It’s a world of men and she understands it. They don’t understand her, but she understands the way they think. And when I look at Jamie, he has a lot of feminine qualities that help him bond with Claire. He understands strong women and is not threatened. He helps Claire, inadvertently, become herself. And I think she does the same for him. He can let down his guard around Claire.

          So, who is Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall Fraser? She is the woman she taught Brianna to be. She doesn’t need a man to complete her. She chooses the man to be beside her. She is the Rosy Riveter who forged ahead. She is the 60s woman who fought to be heard. She is herself. And, I’m damn glad she’s around.

          As a last note, I am one of 4 girls in our family. There are 5 of us. I have one brother. My mom is from the era of Claire, not quite as old but still the 50s housewife. The one thing my mom instilled in all of us girls was to be strong, which we all are. And, my brother has an appreciation for strong women. To me, Claire is what my mother instilled in us. Be yourself, no matter what anyone says. Stay true to yourself.

        4. CeltictessCeltictess

          Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall… Fraser….. Randall….. Fraser – Oh, Forget it!

          Just Claire.

          What is it that fascinates us so about this character? Why do we love her with a fierce protectiveness that we would one of our living, breathing friends? Is it her Wit? She is witty, that is certain. She can stop an 18th century man in his tracks with just her words (poor things, never saw it coming). Is it her skill? She can lance a boil whilst suturing a boar wound while delivering a baby. Yes, she is skilled indeed. How many characters would be dead if it weren’t for our Claire: A LOT.

          Perhaps it’s her passion for her man. We all know that NOTHING would ever get in her way when it comes to Jamie. She will fiercely defend and protect him with as much passion as he would protect her. I mean she traveled through the stones TWICE for that hunk of Highland flesh, leaving her barely adult daughter behind, which we won’t even get in to because there are so many questions about that and the fact that YOU ARE LEAVING YOUR CHILD BEHIND…….sorry – back to the subject at hand – She really, really loves Jamie; as I know you do, too .

          If I had to sum Claire up in one word, it would be CAPABLE. She meets the challenge of any given situation head on and just…..molds it. She just says “Here we go again”, like it’s another Monday at the office and “Black? Or with cream”? She meets situations with charm, grace and skill and, most of the time (except for that whole kidnapping thing….Oh, and that unfortunate witch trial thingy), shapes it to the better. Capable indeed. I mean, she can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan AND never let Jamie forget he’s a man! Now that’s a capable woman, ya’ll.

          So what is it about this character that makes us love her so? It’s that we are all Claire….in our minds at least! Admit it. We all want to be the lovely, skilled, round arsed lass, even if means we are subjected to slicking our hair down with L’Heure Bleue, unabashedly cursing, whilst we brush the tangles out. Hey, it’s worth it, ye ken?

          Does she have faul – er, weaknesses? Of course; she has been known to curse like a drunken sailor, not to mention drink like a drunken sailor. And her face is like glass, showing everything she is feeling on the surface, which can’t be good in certain situations…”Am I going to die, lass”?

          But – She has gotten us through the toughest times in our lives. She’s never failed us. She is always there; strong, fierce, passionate…..capable. Capable of making us love her so very much. She has been a part of me since 1991. She has been there when I was scared and sad and in mourning and joyous. Through death and life and marriage and divorce (probably because he didn’t live up to Jamie, but I won’t ruin the sad moment here) .

          I don’t want to think about how this thing will end. I know one thing; Diana will do our Claire justice. And she will always be there, on the page – and in every one of our hearts forever.

        5. StepherRose26StepherRose26

          Claire and I: An Introspective Comparison in Admiration

          I have been taught how to think logically and analytically, in order to break apart a set theory and apply it to a new framework of knowledge. I can tell you all about regulatory policies that relate to air pollution and EPA guidelines; but something that I have not had the luxury of doing for a very long time, is the autonomy to write with emotion or creativity. Education has been my number one priority for the past eight years; like a security blanket, which has allowed me to hide from evolving into a fully independent adult. One of the essential features in my life has been books from every type of genre; I have never been able to resist the allure of a wonderful story. Unfortunately, when I encountered the Outlander Series for the first time, I honestly did not have the time or desire to pick up the first book. Between finishing up a master’s degree, thesis research, and working, I wanted mindless entertainment. Perhaps, it was not the right time for me to read this series; undoubtedly, it was a foolish mistake that I have since rectified. Although Outlander was originally written in 1991, when I was only three years old, it has characters that display vital elements of humanity; the good, bad, and shades of gray. The irrationality of humans; comprehension of beauty that lies within imperfection; and how people aim to live their lives in a way that is good, can be subjective. I feel Diana Gabaldon expresses these points very well throughout the series. With those points in mind, this leads towards a core discussion of an extremely strong and complex character: Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall Fraser.
          I tend to examine and connect with characters that I can identify with and understand on an emotional/personal level. For me, that would be Claire. Even though she attempts to fit into her time period of the 1940s, she seems to suffer several disconnects. From the grueling experience of being a nurse during the world’s most bloody war, to self-admonition of her lack of domesticity, Claire is neither a man’s ideal or what women during that time period, would aspire to be. Individually though, both Frank and Jamie love her deeply and uniquely. Claire does not have to redeem her worth through a man, which is refreshing to read about. It also provides me with the understanding that being alone or with someone does not automatically equal happiness; Claire is a remarkable woman because she is able to fight her battles and live with or without a man. To me, this signifies an awareness of self-identity that I am still trying to achieve. The character of Claire inspires me to be strong even when I feel almost hopeless.
          When Claire goes back in time, she feels the loss of Frank and becomes a foreigner in a land, that just the day before, was comfortable and normal to her. I can definitely relate to certain emotions and experiences that Claire has during this time. I have always felt apart from most of the people in my life, in one way or another. Just as suddenly as I feel the warmth of belonging or being able to identify with friends and family, it seems to disappear. Additionally, as a twenty-something female in the 21st Century, having the opportunity to increase my education with a master’s degree is still considered a high achievement. Besides the financial debt that I have taken on, within my state the amount of females attaining a bachelors degree or higher is 26.1%, while for males, it is 25.5% (U.S. Census Data). The fact that it is not uncommon or audacious for females to attain higher education (if they choose), connects me to how Claire always finds a way to employ her mind and body into being useful. While arguments could be stated about the traditional duties of males versus females, I see Claire as an individual who works hard and tries to do well by people, because she is a genuinely good person. She works as a healer at Castle Leoch; she helps Mrs. Fitz in the kitchens; she works and heals at Lallybroch with Jenny, and during the second book, Claire is at the Hospital les Anges, striving to care and help others. I can relate to the want of being a useful and helpful person in this world. I want to assist in the preservation and care for the environment, which is why I have studied environmental policy for the past seven years. Within this context, Claire exemplifies a person who strives to simply help those in need, which is one reason why I have so much respect for her.
          When I read Outlander, it immediately became personal for me, because I was able to see Claire’s idiosyncrasies and insecurities, as well as her strength and humor for life. I can look at Claire and see an individual who could be my friend, sister, or mentor. There is simplicity in the life she ultimately chose for herself, which is something I think I would struggle with. Being a materialistic person is not necessarily a negative thing, but it is a weakness. Claire’s character challenges me to be better; to question myself concerning how I treat others and how I want to live my life. I identify best with her as a younger woman because that is the part of life I am living at the moment. Even though Claire has had more life experience than I have, she helps me expose the weaknesses of my character. Being able to recognize those attributes and accept them, as well as the trying to change, is a never-ending journey. There are so many adjectives for Claire: remarkable, caring, patient, brave. I hold hope that one day I can emulate half of these traits. Also, the intensity with which she loves Jamie has given me a standard for the type of man I want/need in my life. Comparing and contrasting myself to Claire allows me to be vulnerable, and introspective. Mixing positive and negative traits of behavior and personality from each of us, give me hope and increases the esteem that hold for myself. Claire is an educated, intelligent, kind, woman with pride, stubbornness, and mild vanity. Her imperfections are beautiful, just as mine are. So I extend my gratitude to the character of Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall Fraser for being who she is, and to Diana Gabaldon, for creating her.

          (These are my personal opinions, no offense is meant to anyone, thanks!) Steph Suchecki

        6. Avatarbwick

          A Retrospective from the Ridge
          Her name. It tells you everything; and yet nothing. Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall Fraser (Randall Fraser).
          Where to begin…Her life has taken a twisting path that could not have been imagined, less planned. A few truths woven through like wool. Sometimes twisted or frayed but yet resiliently woven into the essence of who she is, or will be, or was.
          The truths are Family and Loyalty , shadowed by betrayal and conflict; hopeful of forgiveness. Forgiveness, if not from others then forgiveness of self. Understanding limited choices is not the same as forgiveness.
          Pick any person in her life and catalogue the conflicts and betrayals of each. For example Dougal personifies conflict and betrayal. His betrayals include his brother, his wife, his nephew, his lovers and their children. What are his loyalties?
          Claire has betrayed everything important in her life. She betrays her country, Frank, then Jaime, and Black Jack with his knowing consent. She is betrayed by Jaime, Jenny, Laoghaire, Frank, abused by Black Jack and others.
          Yet in the face of all of this, the story continues. Why? Is it Love? Certainly Jaime is the love she needs to thrive. Frank is the love that sustains her. And then there is Lord John who loves and sustains them all. His love for Jaime is unconditional, extends to his whole family and yet is always on the periphery. It must be it’s own reward.
          So from the Ridge we can peruse the past at leisure and wonder what is next. From the ridge to the West, we see the trail of tears. To the South, we see a thriving economy and culture built on Slavery. To the North and East, we see wars, one after the other. To the North we see Canada, with its French influence that has given us succor time and again in the past. So where?
          From a story that began with an idea of a man in a kilt, the author must decide. Will this all turn out to be a daydream in an incense stupor of a long service in church? On the ridge, we are left to ponder.

        7. AvatarLoriS

          I was raised by television. Both my parents worked, and when they weren’t working they were arguing, and when they weren’t arguing, well, who knows where dad was, but mom was crying. Mom is not a modern woman. She still doesn’t think a woman should be President. She thinks we women should defer to “our men,” If we have one. If we don’t, well, more’s the pity. So, my sisters and I spent a lot of time growing up with the nanny. TV. I think I might be a criminal if Charles Ingalls hadn’t shown me how to behave while I watched Little House On The Prairie. I remember when Oh Mighty Isis was a beautiful superhero, before the name was perverted. I adored The Bionic Woman. But perhaps forward for the time, these ladies still took orders from men. Jamie Summers had Oscar Goldman and if Steve Austin came for a visit, we knew who was in charge. We did have Uhura on the Enterprise, but she firmly in the backseat.

          As a young lady I didn’t know what a feminist was, and I certainly wasn’t exposed to any real life feminists. I suppose I came upon my outrage the good old fashioned way – by experience. But it sure would have been nice to have some backup. That’s why I’m so grateful for writers like Diana and characters like Claire.

          Did someone like Claire exist in the 1940s? I don’t find that hard to believe now, because I know Claires existed before then, in real life, in the form of Susan B. Anthony, the Parkhursts, Lucretia Mott, Sojourner Truth, and so many more brave women. But if they are even mentioned in history class, blink and you’ll miss it. And when they would get a mention it was difficult to imagine these wonderful women as actual people with actual lives. It was and is such a delight and relief to see someone as fleshed out and three dimensional as our Claire.

          Everything about Claire is important: She’s got a career, she was in a war (wow!), she grew up all over the world, she embraces her sexuality and isn’t shy or embarrassed to ask for what she wants and needs. THAT, sadly, is still novel today. A woman like that is way too often the “slut” or “troubled” woman. Not Claire. She spoke up for herself; she didn’t accept second place status. It wasn’t her unabashed cursing, although her unfiltered comments displayed a refreshing lack of concern about how the men around her viewed her, she was going to be herself, damn it. What made Claire so important to me was that her many troubles now eight books in, never stopped her. She had a problem. She often had ONLY herself to rely on, and she looked for a solution. She made plans, she took risks, and sometimes failed. But she’d try again.

          None of that, though, blew my mind and changed my thinking the way Claire did in Voyager. When I started the series I was a young woman in my 20s, just like Claire. But then suddenly – Claire is OLD! My 20something self had a hard time believing the going on 50 Claire could still be so strong and sure and passionate! But I read on, and Claire taught me lesson after lesson about viewing the world and the people in it complexly.

          Certainly there were moments where she broke down. There were tears. And thank goodness for those times, because I break down sometimes and I cry. That doesn’t have to equal weakness or surrender. Claire isn’t a caricature, she’s believable. She’s a hero in her own life that shows us that we can be one too.

          Now, my five nieces, all under the age of 11, aren’t going to start off with Outlander. Thank goodness they are growing up with Hermione, and Buffy, and OK, Katniss. But one day they will also meet Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall Fraser, because she’s got things to teach them, and I am grateful they will have an adult role model that they can find right on their nightstands whenever they need a lift.

          1. AvatarRebecca Hoffman

            I too am awaiting the moment when I can introduce my girls to Claire. For now Hermoine, Katniss, and Tris are hanging out on their nightstands. Loved your writing.

    2. AvatarPam Mc

      Just to let you know, that I love the design of the T-shirt. Best one I have seen so far. Of course, when a professional designs one, it would be the best. Unfortunately, I was never good at writing an essay, so that leaves out of the running. Good luck, everyone!!!!

    3. AvatarKarenC

      I’m a pretty private person, but Terry, I’m sharing my story with you. You inspired me, in turn, I hope it inspires someone else.

      WHY DO I FIND CLAIRE SUCH AN APPEALING CHARACTER?

      First some background, several years ago, I was in the middle to a firestorm of real life problems. I work as a free-lance designer. The company where I had worked for 9 years was coming apart at the seams. My designs represented over half of their sales and leaving would hit my income hard. It didn’t matter, I had to leave. In the middle of leaving, they decided to create something that looked my best-selling design, so now I had to consider getting a lawyer. (Yes, I had a contract, it didn’t matter.)

      The company I moved to was headed by a narcissistic/sociopath, who hide it well. He led me along until he got many good designs from me, paid me just enough to keep the here. He kept stringing me along and after a year of non-payment, I had to leave there. Lawyer #2 enters the picture, as I tried and get my money from this company.

      So now, I’m several years without the income I need, two companies making money off my designs, I’ve got lawyer bills and no resolution, I was getting desperate. Everywhere I turned; there was a business problem I could not fix.

      Another part of my job is traveling around the U.S., teaching and lecturing. In the midst of the non-payment issues and while in another state, my rental car was broken into. All my lecture/class material was stolen. Years of work, the other source of my income was now gone in a split second.

      I have to re-create my work and fast! As I tried to re-focus and start to recreating my work, my studio flooded. A pipe burst overnight. As I walked into my studio, still shaking from the theft, I look up to find water pouring out of the ceiling light fixtures. Next the ceiling collapses. Now I have no samples, no money, no studio, within in the space of a week. I’m a pretty strong person, but this about did me in.

      Enter Outlander. . .. Now, how exactly does Claire fit into the background I just gave? As I read Claire’s story, I, like her, saw a strong woman, in the midst of difficult circumstances beyond her control. As I read, I recognized that I, like Claire, could get thought whatever was happening. I had the strength to do it. I knew I did, but it was being sorely tested.

      I saw the contracts between strength and weakness in the scene at the cottage, where Claire fixes Jamie’s shoulder. Weakness illustrated by the woman, dressed in rags, cowering in the corner. (At the moment, this is exactly how I felt.) Strength illustrated by Claire; standing up to Dougal, chin raised, face defiant, while inside she was shaking. (There I was inside, shattered, but standing up to the problems. They would NOT defeat me.)

      I saw Claire adapting to her circumstances. (I could do that. I could fight to recreate my work, fight to get my money, adapt when and where I needed to.)
      I saw Claire’s intelligence, wit, not putting up with nonsense. I also saw her compassion and her work as a healer.

      I continued to listen to Outlander and Claire’s story gave me encouragement. (I kept working, struggling to recreate my stolen work, while my husband, bless him, fixed the leak, put up dry wall and painted.) In Claire, I saw a strong, smart woman who did not live a perfect life, but did not give up. If Claire face the 18th century, I could face the 21st.

      I don’t want to leave the impression without Claire I could not overcome obstacles. Totally the opposite, her strength reinforced the strength I already had.

      When Claire stood up to Black Jack, I knew I also could stand up to the sociopath owner who had stolen intellectual property from me.

      I related to the relationship between Claire and Jamie, both strong willed, intelligent people. Jamie let Claire be herself. He did not ask her to be something she wasn’t.
      She did not mold herself to fit “his” idea of a perfect wife. She was “perfect” because he loved her as she was. She did the same, loving Jamie as he was.

      They had flaws, but loved each other, respected each other for the people there were. I was fortunate to find a man like that, loving me for who I was and I felt the same way about him. (We have been together since we were 16, married 37 years.)

      Today, Outlander has grown past the book. Many Outlander fans have connected through Social Media. I unfortunately have seen a great deal of hurt caused by harsh words, snarky comments said to be funny, but are really hurtful. Grown women verbally attacking each other in one tweet, yet in the very next tweet, sweetly talking to a cast or crew member. . At times I just shake my head. (Thankfully, this is a very small number. Sadly, they are vocal..)

      HOW does this relate to Claire? I think, perhaps, these women think strength such as we see in Claire equals harshness. These women may believe standing up for yourself equals bossiness and putting other women down.

      Yes, Claire was strong, but standing up for yourself NEVER means tearing someone else down. When you do this, you bring everyone down. Claire was strong; she did not become stronger by making someone weaker.

      Being strong does not mean always having to be right. In reality, it is the stronger person who is willing to say they were wrong, willing to learn, willing to have an open mind.

      Yes, Claire can be a blurter, putting her foot in her mouth. However, she has the intelligence to take a step back, listen to reason and learn from her mistakes. She can say she was wrong and say I’m sorry.

      In closing, I wish I could tell you all worked out. Yes, my studio was fixed and over months, I re-created my samples. However, I never had a resolution, never was paid the money owed me and in the end, I had a big stack of legal bills, with nothing to show for it.

      I didn’t let it stop me. I battled forward and in doing so, other opportunities opened up to me. Sometimes that light at the end of the tunnel isn’t an oncoming train, but really is a glimmer of hope.

      In real life things are messy, don’t go our way. I’ve found it is best to try and get past it. To not let difficult circumstances determine my future. I’d rather live with joy and love, finding the beauty in everyday life.

      Yes, people can hurt us, but only we can determine how we react to that hurt. I see that in Claire’s story. I see that in my story.

        1. AvatarKarenC

          Terry, you are welcome.

          I also envisioned Jamie, Dougal and the rest of the Clan, dirks drawn, getting my money for me. Got to tell you, that gave me a giggle and got me through more than one difficult day.

          1. Stormy PetersonStormy Peterson

            Love this:
            “Weakness illustrated by the woman, dressed in rags, cowering in the corner. (At the moment, this is exactly how I felt.) Strength illustrated by Claire; standing up to Dougal, chin raised, face defiant, while inside she was shaking. (There I was inside, shattered, but standing up to the problems. They would NOT defeat me.)”
            Great post, Karen!

          2. kladislauskladislaus

            Karen,

            You are one of the treasures that have come out of Outlander for me. Thank you for sharing your story, it was very moving.

            Maybe we’ll get the gang together one more time for another big Outlander event in the future. We sure have some great memories from our Outlander experiences though, don’t we?

            Kathleen

      1. AvatarRebecca Hoffman

        “In reality, it is the stronger person who is willing to say they were wrong, willing to learn, willing to have an open mind.” There are so many lines in here that I love! Thank you for sharing.

      2. AvatarGWanner

        I enjoyed your entry! I especially liked “Sometimes that light at the end of the tunnel isn’t an oncoming train, but really is a glimmer of hope.” I wonder how many of us are always expecting the train?

    4. Avatarkelsocrusher

      Great first entry!! Good luck to you Karen! & kudos for having the cajones to put it all on the line about yourself -I think that’s brave-just like Claire!

      Best wishes -Jill

    5. AvatarIvana

      My first comment is still awaiting a moseration but I’ll add one more, a bit longer this time. Sorry, if the grammer is not immaculate but English is my second language. 🙂

      CLAIRE BEAUCHAMP:

      When it comes to the phenomenal woman, through whichever gate of time she passed, there is no era, a ruler or a man who can discourage her fearless determination and break her wondrous spirit.

    6. rhonnie.b@xtra.co.nzrhonnie.b@xtra.co.nz

      Claire

      What do I love aboutClaire? Well this is both hard and easy as for now, in my mind Claire’s character is intrinsically linked with Caitriona’s portrayal of her and there are quite subtle differences as to the book character and the on screen character. Book Claire in my mind is more wilful, tougher and slightly disengaged than Caitriona’s portrayal. Still it’s hard to separate the characters because of how Claire has been bought to life in front of my eyes.

      Claire has an inner strength that sees her through some of the worst scenario’s a woman can face and uses the experiences to strengthen her resolve and go forward. Her absolute love and sacrifice for Jamie and her family are worthy of emulation but at the same time she is so stubborn she can be blind to the consequences of her actions. I love how she is not ‘The Perfect Woman’ and that her faults are almost as endearing as her virtues.

      Her ability to remove herself from outside influences and to look inside herself for truth and healing brings me to tears at times. If only we all had that ability, think of the savings on medical bills. Caitriona’s portrayal is a softer Claire with a little more vulnerability than I see in book Claire but still with a strength of character that come to life on screen.

      I would love to be a Claire personality type (without the glass face) and fervently hope I get to continue both reading and watching Claire’s adventures into the future.

    7. Avatarmarylandmama

      I enjoy Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser because she gets under my skin. She is an intelligent, capable, and extremely memorable character who both inspires and vexes me. Claire loves fiercely, yet she sometimes struggles with making connections with others. She is a woman of profound intellect and empathy, yet she reacts physically and sometimes violently when confronted with an emotionally charged situation. She knows her way around a battlefield, a bedroom, and a workplace, but she also burns dinner and forgets about the babysitter. She runs away. She charges forward. She nurtures, and she cuts.

      Claire knows how to be independent, and she has learned from Jamie and Bree how to truly love without reservation, but such love was hard won and rare, which makes it all the more precious to her. She can be unreasonable and jealous. She hid chocolate from her child (which in my mind can be an admirable trait.) Yet with all these competing traits, her most powerful attribute is that she perseveres. She gets the job done, and she will pay the emotional toll when necessary, but she gets it done. She is able to adapt, survive, and even excel in the most challenging of situations, but never without a cost. This ability to survive, knowing that each experience will change her, is powerful to witness.

      Claire is not a heroine, and that is exactly why I admire her. She is a complex, flawed, impressive woman, and we need more Claires in our world.

    8. auntiemameauntiemame

      Here is my essay on Claire; it’s lengthy.

      A Look at Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall Fraser

      When the book of Genesis was written, the concept of women was that of a helpmate, a submissive extension of the male master, who would provide solace, children, and domestic comfort while the man would provide protection and guidance. That concept has not changed significantly in many cultures in the 21st century, especially in those eastern countries where religion plays an active part in political and cultural dynamics, and until the 20th century, western countries still maintained a patriarchal standard of social behavior. The change in the attitude toward women began in Europe and North America when devastating wars, particularly World War I and World War II, decimated the male population and women were needed to provide services vacated by men who were fighting, injured or killed.

      Such services were largely a continuation of the original role of helpmate: providing solace, child care, and domestic comfort through professional nursing, teaching children, physical labor in manufacturing, and domestic skills of cooking and cleaning. The difference in attitude toward women came through the recognition that women could be courageous, emotionally strong and independent, skilled in disciplines once thought suitable only for men, and formidable in their ability to achieve their goals.

      Enter Claire Randall, a English woman who possesses an inordinate amount of courage. Claire had the courage not only to leave her husband to use her nursing skills, but also to serve on the frontline of battle. She had the courage to deal with potentially mortal wounds and demand the same performance from others. When she found herself in a different world after falling through the stones at Craig Na Dun, she had the courage to defend herself against Jonathan Randall, to negotiate a return to Inverness from Colum McKenzie, and rebuff the advances of Dougal McKenzie, clan war chieftain. She also had the courage to go against Father Bain in saving the life of a child. After she is saved from the rapacious Black Jack, Jamie gives her the chance to return to her husband and her world of 1945, but she has the courage to forego the comforts of the 20th century to stay with Jamie in a dangerous world. And when Jamie is imprisoned at Wentworth, she doesn’t hesitate to attempt his rescue. Her willingness to act in the face of danger and say what she believes is remarkable for a woman in either 1743 or 1945.

      Claire is a woman who uses her intelligence to survive. When she comes to acknowledge that she is in the 18th century, she must form a plan to escape. She is constantly plotting to return to Inverness and the stones so she can travel back to her husband, Frank Randall. She uses her medical skills to help the people of Castle Leoch and the village in an effort to impress Colum and earn her release from his captivity. But she must use her common sense as well as her education. When she realizes that she is in an alien world of the past, she also recognizes that ignorance and intolerance are part of the highland culture. Only the wealthy have formal educations, which may be little more than reading and writing, and the ability to move beyond their immediate world.; the church holds powerful control over all of the social classes. Superstition, belief in magic, and fear of the devil is evident in Colum’s belief that the devil caused his malformed legs. All at Castle Leoch believe that the devil roams in the ruins of the “Black Kirk,” that the devil, “Old Nick,” makes children sick, that taking a hand or nailing an ear can save a soul, that leaving a sick child on a mountain to die will provide a healthy child,. Geillis perpetuates the notion of “magic” with potions and odorous plants. Because Claire recognizes that superstition is stronger than truth, she can not explain where she came from, who she is, or why she is different. She must adapt to her circumstances until she can affect her escape. The one thing she doesn’t realize is the degree of danger from many people: Colum, Dougal, Father Bain, Laoghaire, Black Jack, the Duke of Sandringham and the villagers.

      In the modern world Claire did not face dangers from individuals, only the dangers of battle zones where death was an impersonal fact. Volunteering to serve in a dangerous place and living independent of her husband, she developed a sense of confidence in her medical ability. Serving under stress also developed her vocal expressions so that she was accustomed to speaking her mind and using “salty” language that was not customary for women. Her favorite expression, “Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ,” is not only foreign to the ears of highlanders, but also somewhat sacrireligious. When Rupert repeats the teaching of St. Paul in regard to women, she is quick to tell him what St. Paul can do. Later, she calls Jamie a sadist, and uses the “f” word to describe him. She finds it amusing that he doesn’t know these words, but she is also embarrassed that she must explain their meanings.

      Her confidence also extends to her approach to sex. She has a very strong libido and is uninhibited when it comes to sexual behavior. While she is circumspect in terms of social behavior, her relationship with her husband Frank in 1945 and with Jamie in 1743 is very loving and open to sexual expression. She is not afraid or repulsed by foreplay and intercourse. She enjoys it and wants it, unlike most women, according to Rupert, Murtagh, and Ned. Claire is not afraid to allow herself to be sexually aroused with the man she loves and she is often the instigator of intimacy with both men.

      Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser is a unique character who embodies all the traits of a strong, modern woman. Diana Gabaldon created a woman who has courage, intelligence, and confidence. . .a woman who loves life and lives to love others.

    9. Avatarchatty_cath

      Claire Beauchamp: My Soul Sister?

      I didn’t like Claire at first. She doesn’t seem particularly interested in Frank’s genealogical research. She sees tea-leaf reading as brief entertainment. She’s somewhat amused with the quirks and customs of the people of Inverness. And even though she agreed to the location of their second honeymoon, I felt like she would have been open to a different location– perhaps a place that didn’t have herring. Bright spots were learning more about the medicinal uses of plants and spending time with her husband — separated from for years by a war. So at the end of chapter one, I didn’t like Claire Beauchamp Randall. Or so I thought.

      When Claire travels through the stones, I realized why I reacted to her the way I did. She’s like me. Claire and I share the proverbial eye roll. Her reactions to her situations are my reactions. She wants to go home. She misses her husband desperately. It isn’t an adventure for her. It’s a nightmare.

      Claire is an authentic woman. She isn’t the heroine of a bodice-ripper novel. She is neither victim nor perpetrator. She does what she needs to do, but agonizes over the choices she has to make. She is living as a 20th century woman in an 18th century world and she adapts, but never loses the core of who she is. I love that about her.

      Many times I found myself thinking, “Oh Claire, not good to say that. Not a good time to be outspoken.” I didn’t want her to stop being the things I liked about her, but I wanted her to go about it the right way. But what is the right way when faced with imminent death or imprisonment? Life is complicated and messy and Claire Beauchamp is the personification of that.

      She’s smart, brave, stubborn, outspoken, compassionate, inquisitive, and she’s respectful of the friends and enemies she makes while trapped in a different time – notice, I say trapped. She was trapped in circumstances beyond her control. How many of us find ourselves in similar situations? Certainly not a different century, but most certainly that feeling of loss of control over our destinies has permeated one or more facets of our lives as women.

      In the end Claire was able to decide her destiny. She made her choice. Isn’t that the wish of women everywhere? To be the ones who decide our own destinies? To make the choices that best support our own situations – our own ‘travels through the stones” so to speak.

      I am Claire Beauchamp. You are Claire Beauchamp. Every woman who gets up every day, does what needs to be done, sometimes succeeds, sometimes fails is Claire Beauchamp. We just don’t have to straddle two centuries trying to do that. Thank you Claire for annoying me at first — because I love you now.

    10. KellyKelly

      What’s NOT to love about Claire?

      Well, there are the adjectives of course, if one wanted to be simple about it:

      Loving.
      Feisty.
      Confident.
      Intelligent.
      Adaptable.

      A thesaurus would be handy right about now but I won’t belabor the point: Claire is an admirable woman in the most basic of terms. But Claire should not be so summarily stated, so here’s the expanded version…

      Love: Claire has the capacity for love, deep soul felt love. Vulnerable yet empowering, passionate yet enlightening, demanding yet forgiving. She has found her equal, loves her equal – without boundaries. She love’s another enough to allow them to become their whole being while in the same breath, becoming whole herself. Personally, I find that concept to be the epitome of purpose.

      Feisty: She does not allow herself to be overcome. Not by men or circumstance, not by purpose and not by role. She’s willing to give as good as she gets, damn the consequence. This leads us directly to…

      Confident: One cannot have one without the other, or at least not convincingly. And Claire has this in spades. Enviably so. It is a strong woman that has confidence in herself to be so bold as to hold her own in the company of men when a woman’s place is most certainly not at the forefront, but instead more bent towards servitude and placating men’s whims. Her confidences is not overpowering. It’s the quiet sort, absent of bravado. She has belief in herself. THAT – that is confidence.

      Intelligent: Thinking beyond “just” the skill of nursing, Claire is a problem solver. She can assess a circumstance and use critical thinking to define a process to reason through it, to find a beneficial outcome. She relies on herself to work through her problems. She is a thinking woman, capable and willing to work hard to find answers. Claire’s intelligence is one of her most beautiful features.

      Adaptable: Toss most of us through some stones and back 200 or so years and it’s fair to reason that many of us would not handle it quite so gracefully (though we’d likely have a tamer coiffure for Mrs. Fitz to rake through post nap time). Claire is quick thinking, astute and able to assess the scene with nothing more than an expressive face to show for it. She does not dally too long in the mess of things – but instead makes plans to endure it, if not at the very least survive it. Frankly, adaptability is one of Claire’s traits that I admire most, for it is a combination of so many of the other things that make her who she is.

      Characters can be created in any way the creator – whether it by author, screenwriters, directors etc., please, and they do. But so rarely, it seems, do they create characters that are so enviable beyond the superficial. Claire is more than strong. She is more than intelligent. She is more than beautiful. She is more than courageous… Claire is enviable. A woman to emulate – fictional or no.

      Jamie is oft described as the “king of men”, and while I do not disagree in the least, why stop at the mortality of royalty? Is Claire not the goddess of women?

    11. peggyvanslppeggyvanslp

      You meet people in your life who make a mark on you. The English teacher who opens up the hidden world of Shakespeare, the student who makes a comment that hits home, the sibling who opens your eyes with a spot-on remark, the passerby who comments on your smile. These are people you can see with your eyes, and you can return the favour with a smile, frown, or comment.
      There are other people, no less real, to whom you can’t reply, give a toast, or return a look. Our fictional friend and confidante, Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall Fraser, is one of those people. She has been living with me for years, telling me her thoughts and confiding her fears.
      Claire has insight. With an awareness of her surroundings, thoughtfully put on the page by her biographer, she relates the sights, smells, and sensations that populate her environment. Inns, moors, prisons, cabins (both on- and off-land), and battlefields are not just places, but part and parcel of her experience of life. She watches the people around her with an eye to their thoughts, background, and experiences and manages to intuit their thoughts and feelings. If only I could do the same. She takes the time to look and listen. She takes a few moments to draw conclusions, knowing that, while quick action is sometimes needed, a clear head makes better choices.
      Claire has focus. Once she sets her mind to it, she does what is necessary to move mountains and chip away at problems. I loved when she came back to find Jamie shot and recovering on the cot in Voyager. She puts aside her hurt and anger and listens to his story. She tries to keep an open mind, knowing that her respect and love for him merits a focus on what he has to say and not on her own emotions.
      Claire has tenacity. She keeps moving forward with her dreams, her vocation, and her dedication to her craft. Whatever comes along, she puts her effort into that, discards what doesn’t support her (goodbye, university wives!), and cherishes what helps her along.
      Real or fiction, does it matter? When you meet and spend years with a character who demonstrates such traits, you start to consider your own and challenge yourself to be better. Thank you, Claire E.B.R. Fraser…and you, too, Diana. Maybe I can be one of those people who leave a mark on someone else.

    12. AvatarDebbie Dake

      My Claire ~

      I imagine her as a child, with Uncle Lamb. That’s the “nurture” source of her strength, the “nature” part just seems innate. I picture her learning independence, common sense, practicality, a love of knowledge, curiosity, and courage in the face of the unknown, all alongside someone who was not the traditional parent figure. Who would she be without that experience, without him?

      I love her work ethic. She shirks nothing (well, maybe laundry if she can get away with it). She will do what needs to be done no matter the cost, and is as strong as she needs to be.

      I love her honesty even though it makes her so readable to anyone who watches her face.

      I love her sexuality. She’s always an adventurous and happy partner, even while she ages. There’s only one instance I remember when she really wasn’t in the mood but Jamie was, and she responded just like the rest of us have, with impatience and annoyance. But she was there for him. I love that she can be a selfish lover.

      I love her intelligence. More than that, she thinks clearly in the most stressful situations. I would want her in my corner. Who wouldn’t?

      She is so strong, physically, mentally, emotionally. Claire is strong enough to show her weaknesses and not be cowed by them. Are there real people who are as strong as she is? I hope so. I think so. I want to be one of them.

    13. Avatarwildwillowheart

      Claire Beauchamp Nurse/Doctor Time Traveler
      A sharped tongue beauty with a heart of grace , possessing intellectual charm equal to any man . Not quite the comic book super heroin but close .Perfectly flawed and relatable is she.
      With an understanding just how fragile humans are, Claire is forced to walk a path that sacrifices every sense of entitlement to find her true home is her inner strength . It is what drew me to this character who faces her protagonist , standing on the edge , balancing precariously between what she perceives as honorable or what her heart is leading her to .

    14. Avataremiller1122

      Dear Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall Fraser:

      We met 20 plus years ago in a small bookstore in Montgomeryville, PA. I am not sure you will remember. I walked in the store, and you were on the display in the front. I picked up the book, read the synopsis, and knew I wanted to meet you and have a lifelong friendship. I turned and walked to counter the Sales Clerk commented “what a great read my choice was”, and how I will “love” the heroine and the hero was just a “lucky extra.”

      When I got home, I opened the book, started to read the book, and knew almost instantaneously I would follow your story wherever, whenever, you ended up. I also knew I wanted to see your story, not just read your story.

      You are like no other heroine I have read before. You are courageous, fearless, adaptable, and tireless and last but not least a brilliant woman. You are also real. You landed in an alien time, in an alien place. You learned to adapt, yet still stayed true to yourself. Sometimes forgetting to keep your mouth shut. You met the love of your life and knew he was the one. Your life wasn’t perfect, but it was the life you were meant to have, not the life you left behind.

      When the first book ended, I counted the days until the next book arrived in my little bookstore. I couldn’t wait to find out what kind of adventures, you were going to experience and how you were going get through them with the same grace and grit I read in the first book. My admiration for you Claire has continued to grow with each book and I am excited to see all the books come to life on the screen.

      You have raised a wonderfully brilliant daughter, and I am looking forward to reading more of your and her adventures.

      Claire many of us who continue to admire you over the last 20 odd years were close to the same age as you were when you went through the stones. We have grown up with you; each of us going through our life experiences at the same time you were. Most of us would have crumbled and likely died if we had gone through the stones instead of you. You, however, have shown us with each experience you have had no matter where you come from or where end up you can survive and have a happy and fulfilling life.

      Thank you for taking us on this odyssey you call life. Thank you for being a positive role model to a group of women who need to meet you at a particular time in our lives.

      Thank you for bringing Jamie, Dougal, Colum, Brianna “Ellen”, Mrs Fitz, Frank, Joe, Fergus, Ian, Jenny, Ian and Roger just to name a few of my favorite characters into my life.

      Much love your friend forever.
      Ellen

    15. Katie (@bunnums)Katie (@bunnums)

      I post this without having read any of the other responses because I didn’t want my gut reactions to be tempered by what others have to say. There are as many reactions to Claire as there are individuals reading these books! And that’s something to be celebrated and honored.

      Claire Beachamp

      In many ways, I’m nothing like Claire. I think long and hard before I say anything. I mull things over and contemplate to the point of taking way too long to say things that should probably be said. I bite my tongue even when I shouldn’t. I’m overly considerate of other people’s feelings and points of view. I always give everyone the benefit of the doubt and trust that they know what they’re doing until they prove unequivocally that they don’t. I keep my emotions in check, am not very demonstrative (except with my kids) and am exceptionally even keeled. I mean, I had brain surgery and was completely at peace going into it!

      There are also some traits I believe Claire and I share. I can be as stubborn as a rock myself (as can my husband, which has created some… um… interesting situations!). I’m pretty bright and can adapt and absorb new information and situations quickly.

      I don’t want to be Claire and, quite frankly, I wouldn’t want to be married to Jamie. He and I would not get along as a couple. I love reading about Claire and Jamie, because they clearly do belong together. But would I want to read about Jamie without Claire? I don’t think so. I can’t relate to him. But I can relate to Claire, and there’s so much I admire about her.

      Claire is strong in conviction. She believes in herself and those she trusts and loves. She is as strong as any man around her and doesn’t apologize for it. She never defines herself by society’s expectations of men and women, and won’t let anyone else define her that way either. She is simply herself, come what may. While I am always honest about who I am to myself, there are too many times I hide that from others for fear of what they may think of me.

      Claire isn’t swayed by what anyone, including Jamie, thinks of her. She simply is who she is with no facades. She may notice what others think of her, and sometimes even be hurt by it, but it doesn’t change her actions. All too often, my fear of being hurt by others holds me back from taking risks.

      Claire isn’t shy about asking for, or simply taking, what she wants and needs. Whether it’s for her patients, her family, or herself, she is an advocate. Most women, myself included, find it incredibly difficult to advocate for themselves.

      Claire feels all her emotions in full and doesn’t apologize for that either. She expresses (though not usually in words) and uses her anger, her joy, her sorrow, her love, her frustration, her desire. I have a very hard time expressing myself emotionally and find it astonishingly difficult to openly discuss my feelings – positive or negative. It simply feels too vulnerable, but I also know it’s holding me back from some true connections.

      Claire has a calling. She knows what she is meant to do and no one can stop her. Even in my 40s, I dream of having that kind of certainty – of knowing what my life is supposed to be about.

      Claire is not perfect (and she wouldn’t be an interesting character if she were). She’s impulsive, which can work against her at times. She can be blunt to the point of being brutal. In times of deep crisis, her instinct is to run away (mine, too!) rather than stay to fight the difficult fight. And she’s not always as empathetic as I would like her to be, especially towards other women.

      But Claire is a role mode for being true to yourself and not apologizing for it. We don’t need all women to *be* Claire. We do need all women to be themselves and accept each other as-is. Let’s all just think about how great that world would be!

      1. Avatarjackieincincy

        This is terrific! I really recognize my own feelings about Claire in your description and see myself much like you describe yourself. We can celebrate and appreciate our differences! We can’t all be Claire but we can all admire her and take the kernels that fit and use them to strengthen ourselves. Good job!

    16. Avatarcharolettehanaghan

      Dear Claire
      I was overjoyed to receive your letter and package . The herbs and descriptions of use will come in handy, I am sure this summer. I having been thinking of you and wondering how you both are getting along in France . The night we met is still fresh in my mind. I admire your strength and ability in the long night that ensued . Never had I seen such things done by anyone before. Your husband is a lucky man in that you were able to attend to his wounds so skillfully. Marcus still chuckles every time he remembers that night. He hold you in awe over the killing of the wolf with your bare hands. I hope you received the pelt in fine condition. Personally I thought it hideous, but he felt the need to send on to you.
      Joyous to hear that you are expecting your first child. One of life’s little blessings. I have set the household to knitting blankets and such to send on.
      The news that you have taken a position in the hospital there , troubles me some, you hear some awful stories. I do know you have a good head on your shoulders and won’t take any necessary risks..I say with a chuckle.. You take care of your self. Don’t forget to eat.
      Well I’ll make this the end,. Write again soon and let me know how you are getting on.
      May God Bless you both
      Your Faithful Friend
      Annabell

    17. Avatarkaori

      Ok, here goes nothing…

      I first ‘met’ Claire when I was 16 and it wasn’t until later on in my life that I realized how important that ‘meeting’ would be.

      She stayed with me through life’s trials. Starting from the end of high school, whilst I was pulling out of severe depression in the bosom of an unstable family.

      Claire wasn’t at the forefront of my thoughts then. I was just wading my way back to the land of the living and feeling. (Barely treading water to be honest.)

      She was a small comforting weight. Present, but not always recognised. (Ballast if you will.)

      Claire was and is the blueprint for HOW I wanted and wish to be:

      Strong, but not rigid.
      Flawed, but beautiful because of it and not in spite of it.
      Kind, but not anyone’s doormat.
      Courageous enough to stand up and live with the results your beliefs and life altering decisions.
      Confident enough to know that out of all the opinions of ‘you’ there have been and will be…only the ones from those that *matter* matter.

      And lastly, Claire helped me understand that in the end it’s those ‘inner qualities’ that distinguish you. Perhaps for both good and ill. But most importantly, they allow you to love and be loved by people equal to them.

      My eternal thanks to ‘Claire’ for this gift: A map to my best self.

      *thanks for reading!*

    18. RMSRMS

      Here is my essey about Claire. My first language is Finnish so there might be some funny sentences in between…Google translator didnt help that much. And I am Nurse myself, so there is always professional point of view in the whole story for me….

      Nurse to survive….or survivor by nature and knowledge?

      Claire Randall worked during World War II as a nurse in conditions involving multiple situations what today’s women could not even imagine being.
      Although as a child he toured the world with his uncle in extreme conditions, only working as a nurse in a war shaped a true survivor in her .

      After the war she gave up her profession , like many of the women in that time who got married. Determination, skill, courage, self-help and the daily presence of death shaped her a skilled, perceptive and daring woman. Even if Claire focused her interest in botany after war, myself got the feeling that devoted love for Frank wouldn´t been enough in the long run …. even if the sex life was passionate.

      And then – HUMPS- she fell through time to the 1740 ‘s.

      Working in masculine army hierarchy, understanding war and battle in some degree and nurse training helped her , especially the first few days
      to cope with extreme conditions compared to 1940S. With her own professionalism, courage and determination she began to earn her place and appreciation , piece by piece ,in the the community where the women had little value. The woman was her husband’s property and under his, nothing more.

      Claire’s expertise and skills of healing caused confusion , especially in father Bain and in Mc Kenzie brothers, not to mention Geillis Duncan.
      Childcare, cookery and household management skills were the only claims to the woman , so it’s no wonder that Claire’s other skills caused confusion.
      Father Bains religion based conceptions of human ailments are quite understandable , as well as his actions based on beliefs of witchcraft towards Claire perhaps acceptable.

      But Mc Kenzie brothers realized what kind of jewel they had found and decided to take full advantage of her .
      Although I think Botany orientation would be bored to Claire in the long run , it was more than helpful to tend her patients in 1740`s without modern medicine. Mc Kenzie brothers were both educated men , like Jamie . They saw Claire’s more than an ordinary woman. Angus and Rupert treated Claire like any woman , even worse than their own-non-Sassenachs …. Murtaugh on the other hand appreciated her.

      Geillis Duncan didn`t have nursing skills in 1940’s or either 1740’s , but via her own botanical skilss she very quickly realized what kind of women Claire really was. I think that Geillis noticed that Claire knows more plants than she did. Claire`s courage to take care of the boy who had eaten poisonous plants in the churchyard made impression to Geillis. And this was the event that woke Geillis intrest towards Clare up even more. Claire could not have known that her skills would effect destiny of both of them.

      In the beginning Claire coped 1740`s situations through profession as a nurse . Tending Jamie’s shoulder in the dark without proper management tools
      indeed require skills and knowledge , as well as daring. The nurse as a proper profession was born in the truest sense in the next century. 1740`s healers took care of patients in the time perception. 1940 nurse knew more than the 1740`s healers , but as a woman Claire was always under suspicion. Interesting is how well she represents today’s nurse image at that time. Her grip on the treatment is holistic and human, whoever the patient was, just like in todays nursing.

      But the knowledge and expertise kept her alive. But I believe , that without the nurse’s training , she would have survived almost equally well.

      Determination , vitality , living in difficult conditions and in particular the knowledge of the history saved her skin almost as many times as to medical skills . Participation in the research of Randalls family history with her ​​husband Frank was not a bad thing at all , but Claire thought it was boring … Boring history became lifesaver.

      Claire’s knowledge of the history made Mac Kenzie brothers more suspicious than her care expertise . Doubting her spying for English made ​​Claire’s life uncertain. He could not rely on anyone- except Jamie in time .

      As a woman, she wanted explanations, questioned and doubted things that at the time the woman is not one to make . She stood up herself and I think that her nature combined with nursinf skills also frightened part of the people and made ​her interesting . Friendship with Jamie brought her a certain degree of security, as well Colum McKenzie command to manage the castles healer tasks..

      Marriage with Frank was just beginning , when Claire fell through time to the 1740 ‘s. The living ing Scottish castle and surviving daily life shaped her up to real Claire. Living in 1940`s with Frank probably would have been typical of that period, but for Claire in the long run frustrating and underchallenged . I do not believe that Claire would have got the same scale to show the real abilities of nuring care and the medical field .

      Examined aspect through husbands, Frank didn`t accept Claires acting as a nurse and some of her characters. Raising the family and looking after the home were the issues of marriage in his point of view.Jamie appreciated all aspects in Claire, nursing and nature.Skills , knowledge, and as well as strength of character , determination and acting recklessly. Jamie fell in love with Claire on these things, not to mention the beautiful in appearance.

      Claire is survivor because of her profession , nature and knowledge. Brave , skillful , clever woman, who built her status in the beginning of the story.

      Ther is saying that behind every succesfull man, there is strong, wise and hardworking woman. In Claires case there is loving, wise and supportive husband behind her. Equal survivor.

      1. Avatarjackieincincy

        I know a lot of nurses and believe that many of them have that same inner toughness and skill set to function well in difficult situations. Glad you wrote about that. Thanks!

    19. Avatarsmithke123

      I am new to the Outlander fan community, only having read the books after seeing the first episode on STARZ. To now be part of this vast network of fans of the show and fans of the book is truly an amazing experience. Because of the show, many more women have the privilege of getting to know Claire. She is truly an aspirrational character! She, of course, is flawed as we all are. But for that reason, we see how she works through problems and difficulties she encounters, albeit some of her own creation. She embodies many conflicting characteristics. She is modern in that she stands up to the established mores of the 18th century, but she is also traditional in that she does much / gives up much, for love. She is outspoken on the one hand, but keeps buried some very deep feelings, i.e., her post traumatic reaction to her rape. She is a dichotomy of emotions and responses in many respects. But she is who we are also in the modern society. As a 62 year old educated woman who raised a family and had a profession, I can identify with her strength. There have been many times I was ready to drop because there was so much to do, but wanted to be a role model for my three boys so they would have a respect and appreciation of women and the choices they are sometimes forced to make. I of course was not exposed to the physical conditions that Claire was exposed to, so her journey is even more telling of her inner strength and determination. I also admire her for her openness and acceptance of her own sexuality. While she, at times, does sublimate her own physical desires to Jamie’s, more often than not she takes what she needs. Conversely, she is not afraid to give herself wholly to him, to loose herself in him and that is truly why I love her so. Claire Fraser knows who she is, what she need and wants, and for that reason can also give it up and loose herself in Jamie when he is in need. Hence, why the love story lives on through all these many books.

    20. Avatarflincaint

      I wasn’t a book-fan to start with. I watched the first eight episodes after Christmas because a friend praised the show so much that I wanted to find out exactly what she was talking about. After the eight episodes, I found myself so eagerly wanting to find out what happened to Claire’s journey that I started to pick up the books.

      Claire’s story, in a way, is a story reflecting many women’s life success and struggles. Like a lot of women, she knew one way to love and one way to live. She played no game and stays true to herself without holding back. Life threw her curve balls, not necessary prepared for all those happened or to be happened, but she tried really hard to make the best out of it while caring for the ones she loves.

      Claire is extraordinarily yet ordinary. She gracefully impressed everyone she came by, yet at the end of the day, she recognized the important things in her life and picked her battle without regret for the imperfection. She is a graceful survivor.

      As much as time has changed for a lot of things, obviously, not fast enough for women. Many times, women are been convinced to play a secondary role for “the greater of good”, however one defines that. A lot of time, women struggle with the visible and invisible boundaries confining them to truly feel free to pursue things they love. I found encouragement and comfort in Claire’s character. I know she’s fictional, but I also found a lot of truth in her. Time traveling might not be my competence, but the courage she took for challenges of her life is something I can also breathe in and echo to from time to time.

      Back to the TV show that got me into reading the books, Caitriona Balfe is a great illustration to remind me that there are so many “Claires” out there. I don’t know her enough to say much but from a few articles I read about her and her career paths, it is very impressive that she can stay so strong and so genuine.

      I am glad that I encountered Claire. She reminds me how proud I am to be a woman.

    21. Purl99Purl99

      I came late to the Outlander party and haven’t stopped celebrating since. I truly hope to be Claire when I grow up!

      Not quite an essay…but its to the point.

    22. Avatarrjohnstr

      What a fun idea, Terry! Here is my entry:

      When I first met Claire, I recognized her right away. Not only as a strong female protagonist (although she is that) but as a mother, a sister, a friend. As myself.

      She is every woman who found herself in a dangerous situation and had to save herself by her wits. She is every woman who refuses to be defined by the times in which she lives, by society’s opinion of what a woman in those times should be. She loves, but she does not let herself be defined by the men she loves. She is always quintessentially herself first.

      She is every woman who has seen the man she loves broken by life and had to bring him back from the brink. Who will fight for the people she loves, protecting them with her body and her spirit.

      We root for her because we know her, because we’ve been her, because we too must live with the choices we’ve made and find the beauty in them, and the heartbreak, and still find the will to go on.

    23. AvatarSonny and Brenda

      I love Claire. I love how brave, smart, honest, creative, heroic and ballsy she can be… At all times! Claire is the type of person I’d love to be. She is warm, caring and yet she can be ruthless when it comes to protecting her loved ones. Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser is one of the strongest heroines I have ever encountered in my reading!

      This woman is a survior of so much! Claire has survived living and traveling between 2 different time periods and she made it work in each time period. She always puts the needs of others before her own, until the time was right and at that point, she was able to finally follow her path back to her true love. It wasn’t easy to get back to that place, time, experiences and centuries change people but, true love survived time and space. Everything that was done in the years past didn’t break her connection to Jamie or vice versa. It WAS worth it. There was a pot of gold, or maybe whisky at the end of the rainbow and that was the true love of separated lovers.

      Claire is a force to be reckoned with… I see so many who gush over Jamie, and sure, Jamie is swoon-worthy BUT, there would be no story without Claire. It’s Claire’s voice that I identify with, it’s her voice I look for in all the books and the show. No matter what her experience was in the books or on the show, she always held her head high, became practial, dusted herself off and began again. Just like real life. I adore Claire, end of story.

      Ro

    24. JulieCJulieC

      Hi Terry,

      I’m relatively new to the Outlander world, having discovered Claire through Cait’s brilliant portrayal! (sidebar – if Ron had not created the brilliant BSG reboot, I don’t think I would have given Outlander a look, so HUGE thanks to Ron and the AMAZING Outlander team!). I get to the end of episode 1.08 and can’t wait to find out what happens next. I download Outlander and go down the rabbit hole… I devour all 8 of Diana’s incredible books in 7 months and start thinking I have a serious problem because it is all that I think about. I was on the verge of creating “Outlander’s Anonymous” when I discovered I was not alone! It seems funny to say, but Outlander is changing my life in ways I could never imagine…

      When I read the stories about people who discovered Claire 20 years ago, I get a bit envious – and sad. I wonder if I would have taken a slightly different path had I read the books earlier. Sure, I love the fact that Claire is brave, strong, intelligent and independent – I grew up with women like that. I am very grateful to the real-life Claire’s who paved the way for me to be able to study, have a career and make my way in the world (business, in my case). When I need a bit of extra courage – like I will need in the next month or so – I try to tap into what I now call my “inner warrior Claire”, the part of myself that is not afraid to go head to head with authority, who takes charge and gets the job done, no matter what; the “mother bear” part that will walk through fire to protect family and friends.

      However, what really intrigues me is Claire’s journey towards a life balance as the series progresses. Hey, I have not found mine yet, so I’m probably reading with my own filters on. Going back in time the first time makes Claire grow more confident, changing her life and her career path when she returns to the 20th century. In my opinion, she could have easily become the hard-as-nails uber surgeon, sacrificing mariage and family – and Diana shows us glimpses of that. But she goes back in time again… by choice and grows differently because of it. Claire lives through life and death experiences that are more personal to her, that emphasize what really matters. I could go on for hours about how I love the Claire and Jamie relationship as the books progress… There is a beautifully evolving “dance” between them as they get older that I really enjoy – not to say envy (I never thought a chamber pot scene would make me cry!). Claire is even stronger, braver and wiser because she is more “human” and real in my eyes. So I will try to re-discover the “real Claire” hidden in me and tap into it more often.

      Terry, I have to say that I really enjoy your posts, from the BRILLIANT costume designs, to everyday life issues, to topics that make me think. See, had I not discovered Outlander, I would not be doing this right now! Thanks for everything that you do!

    25. AvatarDaphnepf

      I blame it all on Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser for affecting my life, and the lives of others, since I first read The Books in 1995. That was a year after my first visit to Scotland. In 1996 I went online for the first time and immediately went to the authors’ groups on AOL to look for Diana Gabaldon. It was there that I met a fantastic group of ladies who have been online friends since then. The Outlander books by Diana Gabaldon drew us all together and in 1997 we had our first “Gathering” at a New England Scottish Games. None of us had met in the flesh, but we decided that we didn’t believe we had any “axe murderers” in the bunch, and we had a wonderful weekend. We have members from all over, including Canada and England, Texas, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, Arkansas, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. For twelve years we had gatherings all over North America, and one trip to Scotland. Lately our gatherings have been smaller due to family commitments, but we still “talk” almost every day on our email loop, or Facebook. There are 22 of us ranging in age from early thirties to late seventies. Our next get together will be at a dude ranch in upstate New York this fall.

      We were all drawn to the writing, but especially to the characters. Claire and Jamie jumped out of those pages at us, and we have analyzed and critiqued both of them for years. For many of us, Claire is our hero. Her talents, her adaptability, her strengths, and, yes, her weaknesses, plus the deep love she has for Jamie, all combine to make the kind of woman many of us strive to be in the “real” world. Would we “go back” like Claire did? Most of us would like to think so.

    26. Avatarnancymcgeheeguillory

      “Claire”ifying My Superhero
      Last summer, when I told my co-worker Ashley about a new show coming out about a time traveling nurse, who ends up in eighteenth century Scotland, I never imagined I’d meet my alter ego, and role model in the pages of the book the show is based on, that Ashley insisted I read. The moment Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser went through those stones, and proved she had enough sense to keep her wits, and work through what was happening to her, I knew she was a woman I could admire and respect, because we shared a similar experience.
      Five years ago, I came home from work, to discover that my wonderful, forty-eight year old, husband Maurice, (Moe) wasn’t going to wake up from his afternoon nap on our living room couch. Much like Claire’s fall though time that erased the world she’d lived in with Frank, Moe’s death destroyed not just the life we’d shared, but all of our future plans. At the time of his death, Moe was unemployed, drawing workers comp, and had no life insurance. Just like Claire, I found myself in an alien world, alone, penniless, terrified, and vulnerable, at the mercy of others, and trusting in their kindness. As I continued reading Claire’s story, I realized just how alike we are, and she soon became not just a fictional heroine I could relate to, but my sister survivor, who, like me was determined to get through the worst situations.
      While Claire and I share many of the same traits, we both have foul mouths, love good whisky, and have very readable faces, Claire is way more woman than I’ll ever be, braving the unknown numerous times, risking life and limb to be with her soul mate. I realize that makes Claire sound like a reckless daredevil, which she is not. Claire is unequivocally unique, but she is just like any other woman too. She’s a loving wife, doting mother, and capable caregiver, yet she’s also practical, resourceful, grounded, and realistic about who she is in relation to where she came from, how she got where she is, and why she belongs with Jamie. To describe Claire as a ‘strong” woman sounds trite in light of her who what where, and how, but it’s her inner strength combined with dogged determination, and her love for her man, that drives her to not just survive, but thrive.
      Like every other fan of Diana Gabaldon’ novels, I fell in love with Jamie Fraser, who reminds me a great deal of Moe, who was my “Jamie”. The relationship between Claire and her man brings back sweet memories of my happy marriage, and it is one of the many reasons I keep reading the books, and watch the show. (I host viewing parties for every episode!) But, Claire herself is my main attraction, because she knows who she is, what her purpose is, and she lives each day fully, fearlessly, knowing that tomorrow isn’t promised. She stands her ground, never compromises her beliefs, and sets an excellent example for succeeding as a woman in a very male dominated environment.
      Every female, at any age, can take a lesson from Claire. She isn’t perfect. She has her moments of weakness, and doubt, yet, when she must act, she does so with clarity, and conscious effort to do her utmost best. Claire doesn’t wear a cape, fly like Superman, read minds, nor does she have x-ray vision, but she’s my superhero who comes to my rescue from the pages of eight amazing books, when I’m feeling down and uninspired.
      Nancy McGehee Guillory

    27. Avatarclaireokc

      This is a little different for me because, although I’m an artist, my medium is painting or designing – in the visual stuff, not the literary vein, but Claire E.B.R. Fraser, …..well, she got me by the heart and didn’t let go. Because this isn’t my medium, this is long!

      It took me a while to figure out that this is one of those monumental story-telling epics that’s the kind that reaches into each of us and appeals to such an extent, that it becomes almost impossible not to be affected. Probably around the time Claire saved Jamie’s soul from the Wentworth devastation, I realized just how great a journey this story was going to take. What was evident from the start is that Claire and the people she hangs around with (Jamie, family, friends – good ones) are people of worth. As she says, Jamie is a man and that’s no small thing. Well, Claire is a woman and that’s equally no small thing. Both of them live in a world chocked full of challenges and incredible dangers and dealing with the problems as they are handed to them. Of course, Diana has written in a lot of problems to make the story go. You have to have something to write about besides “….and they lived happily ever after,” as the story doesn’t progress much then (even though there have been times I just wanted them to live for a while with nothing wrong on the ridge or at Lallybroch).

      So many authors turn to the decaying or corruption of a character(s) as a dramatic tool to progress the story, but in Claire’s (and Jamie’s) case, they are confronted with one challenge after another, working through them, solving them and becoming closer together as well as stronger persons of themselves. This is the mark of fine and compelling story-telling in the vein of Odysseus, Jason, Beowulf, Frodo Baggins, King Arthur, Robin Hood, Luke Skywalker and aside from a few (Guinevere, Elizabeth Bennett, Lisbeth Salander), most of these are men, and then there’s Claire E. B. R. Fraser – a woman heroine for our times – well, OK, maybe a century or two behind! Claire not only confronts one or two challenges along the way (the least of which is learning to cope in a time two centuries ago), but manages to meet them and surmount them (OK, just a tad double entendre!), and in the process become a person that she couldn’t even dream of becoming without having met and sir-rmounting those challenges. There’s many times in the book, if I were Claire I would just be tempted to sit down and cry and wallow around in the woe-is-me’s, when Claire picks herself right up and starts all over again or thinks through what is the solution to what’s right in front of her. If she’s not doing that, then she’s working through some major project like how to stop the destruction of the Highlander way of life or something equally as monumental. And if her temper or emotion has gotten the better of her, and caused her to make a really bad decision, she reasons herself through the whole predicament allowing herself to see a holistic view rather than a monolithic one. Claire is not one to just give up or cry her way into a solution or “depend upon the kindness of strangers” a la Blanche DuBois.

      She’s not tackling these problems as if she’s the only solution or screaming outlandish (sorry couldn’t resist) premonitions of what the future can bring, (a la Otter Tooth who rants and raves and looks like he nuts when the Mohawk won’t believe him). She works quietly behind the scenes and often in an accepting way, realizing that her unique position gives her insight, but also gives her the picture of what may pass as well as the curse of what will pass. Still, she keeps going.

      Granted, a lot has to do with the fact that Claire and Jamie have each other, and that does give a person huge strength – she gives it to Jamie and he to her. At the same time, they are both made of such worth which is what makes their union even than much more valid. They set a bar high for others to follow. Remember Brianna worries that she won’t find a love like her mother’s because she knows how strong her love for Jamie was/is – it was/is a high standard. Tom Christie is drawn to the same forcefulness. Many are drawn to Claire, hoping to get what she has, not realizing that it’s not Claire’s to give, but only hers to show the way. Jamie realizes this, and not only accepts Claire’s gift, but returns it to her, thereby accepting the ultimatum and he too, becomes more than he thought he could. Claire knows that she can be attached to someone so strongly, yet still remain viable unto herself – after Jamie is shot in the heid and presumed dead or dying, it’s Claire who picks up the ax and kills the witch! And THEN after it’s all over, and she and Jamie are OK, she has the guts to cry it all out. Sheesh! How can we not want to be that vulnerable and strong like that at the same time?!!

      And Claire is like all of us; she tumbles and falls, sometimes very badly, and yet can come to grips with her problems and mistakes then work at dealing with them in the best, clumsy, groping, only way she knows to rise above them and survive another disaster and become more than she thought she could in the process. She can credit their relationship with her strength. The truth is that if she didn’t have the personal character to strive to be a “person of worth” on her own, her relationship with Jamie wouldn’t hold that much strength either. It is that both of them feel compelled to be people that are better than they thought they could be, that makes for their appeal. They have the strength of each other, but they also have the strength of their own characters. They can bend, but they can not break that individual conviction or strength. They both have clear ideas of what they can do and what they can’t do. They also don’t ask the other to do something they know he/she can’t or won’t do.

      The greatest thing that we humans can do is live an example that we would want our descendants to follow and to provide them the wherewithal, if nothing other than just a model way of living, to brave a path that they can follow. Claire braving a path filled with unexpected dangers that we can’t even imagine today, would be enough for me to hail a cab right back to the 20th century, but not Claire. Claire realizes her place is in this more dangerous time, and knowing that danger, still accepts the reality of it because she knows that she fits with this one other person. Yes, she’s willing to give up everything to be with him, but she is also willing to give it everything she’s got. She doesn’t cleave to him as chattel, but comes to him as a valuable asset and resource, (and BTW Jamie knows this too). Claire manages another adventure, another trek, another challenge, another victory because she can not NOT accept it, and neither can Jamie. They both know this about themselves; they respect it about the other; and they don’t expect any less from themselves or the other.

      Personally, I find the story of Claire uplifting, refreshing, enlightening and classic in that it never fades, dates or grows old with time. We all still love the story of our heroes and Claire as a timeless heroine survives fads and fashions. Like all great story-telling characters, Claire haunts us, her character beckons us and has a hold on us that defies reason but is as natural as breathing air. It is in our very human nature to find Claire compelling, addictive, inspiring, consummating and just basically….well…..Diana had better not stop writing about her for a very long time!

      1. peggyvanslppeggyvanslp

        Your favorite media may be painting and design, but you proved you can draw a wonderful and inspiring picture with words as well. This was a great read! Well done.

    28. Avatarhotscot

      Adrift in Uncharted Territory

      When we first meet Claire Beauchamp Randall in Outlander, she is a woman adrift. Like so many other women who had been put to great use in the war effort, then abruptly left to resume their domestic prewar lives, Claire feels that she must find a way to reconnect to her husband, Frank. Something is obviously missing from their renewed relationship; the closeness is gone, the ability to relate to each other lost or sublimated. Having witnessed so much suffering and chaos in the war and also having been in a position of great responsibility, settling down to the traditional duties of the wife of an academic would be foreign and a challenge. She was married to Frank so briefly, the relationship had never become truly comfortable. They hadn’t had the time to settle into married life, to complete each other’s sentences or know just what the other was thinking without saying it out loud. How does one become a wife again after such a long separation? She didn’t relate to her own parent’s relationship, they had died when she was much too young to remember them, and Uncle Lamb had never taken a wife. Claire had never had a real home, but had lived in a rather crude and nomadic fashion with her archeologist uncle in crude domiciles. She really had no domestic training or female role model to emulate, so she would just have to muddle through this new challenge the best she could. The woman Frank had married eight years prior was vastly different than the one to whom he returns, more mature and hardened than the inexperienced girl he remembered . Claire very much wanted to find a way to reconnect with Frank, but the years of separation had taken her on a different path, one that perhaps he could never fully understand or relate to. His war experience was so very different from hers. She had found herself in the immediacy of the war, surrounded by blood and death and horrific tragedy, while Frank was in MI 5 with its secrecy and calculated plotting. Well, she hoped that they would at least be able to reconnect with each other through love. Let their bodies come together, that had never been a problem in the past, and hopefully the rest would follow with time. The fates, though, had something different in mind for our heroine. She wandered too close to the standing stones at Craig Na Dun and found herself cast into 18th century Scotland. Once again, she found herself adrift, rudderless, in uncharted territory and must survive by her sheer wit & native intelligence. Likely, her overall attractiveness, grace, and compassion will serve her well in hostile terrain with crude barbarians who speak an unintelligible tongue and demonstrate uncouth mannerisms. Her handy nursing skills initially help to endear her to the pack of wild highland heathens she encounters upon first landing in the 18th century when she sets the dislocated shoulder of one of the lads, Jamie. Despite being terrified, she musters an authoritative manner that illustrates to these rough men that she is perhaps no ordinary woman. They might find her useful, which sets the rest of the adventure in motion.

    29. @auntbabs74@auntbabs74

      Channel Your Inner Claire
      by Barbara Kidwell @auntbabs74
      I began reading Outlander in October 2014 as an escape from my troubled marriage. I wanted to wait to watch the TV series until I was finished with the first book. While I immediately fell in love with James Fraser, Claire is what sold the story to me. I was immediately hooked. Claire Beauchamp is an intelligent, strong woman, who despite being thrown into a whole new world in a different time, has the ability to adapt to any situation and overcome obstacles. The reason why I love Claire? Well, she is a reminder of who I once was and who I wanted to be again. I believe there is a little Claire in all of us.
      In a sense, Claire had always been an outsider – an outlander. She never had a true hometown and moved from place to place. This was true growing up with her Uncle Lamb and moving with Frank so he could work at various universities. She was thrown into the front lines as a nurse during the War and then of course she eventually finds herself traveling back in time. I could relate to her character as I grew up living in different places, never spending more than 3 or 4 years in one place. As an adult, I still find that I move around every few years. I understand how it is to be someone who doesn’t belong but finds a way to adapt to her surroundings. The benefit of my life and the life of Claire is that you learn to handle life’s circumstances in a way that other people cannot. While you try to plan for a future, the reality is that life is fluid and things will happen in which we have no control. Adapting to change is a survival skill, no matter where you live or what century you live in.
      I understand Claire’s need to work. I have the utmost respect for stay- at-home- moms and housewives. However, like Claire, I have to work outside the home. Claire has a gift to tend to the sick and wounded. While I don’t know if Accounting is necessarily a gift, I know that my education and profession is part of who I am. The bottom line is that I am not fulfilled as a person unless I have my work. It is what I do; it is who I am. I remember reading the parts where Claire worked late nights at the hospital and had issues finding reliable babysitters for Breanna. As a working mother, I understood how it feels to leave your child with a sitter. There is a sense of guilt leaving your child but it takes strength to accept the truth. The reality is that to be a happy woman and a good mother- my work was something that I could not live without.
      The characteristic that really sells Claire to me over all others, is her ability to find control in an uncontrollable situation. She has the ability to focus on the task at hand, problem solve, reflect, and move on. I am sure this is why she made a great healer. In a sea of chaos, she could focus on the patient in front of her and then move on to the next. On a personal level, every day of my life was like being trapped in a kaleidoscope of emotions. I was in a toxic, tumultuous relationship and felt like my life was out of control. I had to “channel my inner Claire” and focus on the immediate issues. What needed to be handled right away and what could be addressed later? I would take the time to reflect on the impact of my decisions without letting any regrets hinder me from pressing forward.
      Claire has the ability to endure life’s trials. She is a representation of what being a woman is. Claire reminds us to enjoy each moment and live in the moment. You never know what life may bring tomorrow. Enjoy the special moments at Lallybroch or Fraser’s Ridge because, like Claire, we all know that sometimes more obstacles lie ahead. In times of distress, I have often asked myself, “What would Claire do?” I hope that every woman finds the strength to “channel their inner Claire.”

    30. Avatartiapet11

      In the fall of 1993, I stopped into Stacy’s Bookstore on Market Street in San Francisco during my lunch hour. This wasn’t unusual, as I worked at a law office on the same block and Stacy’s proved to be a salve to my non-corporate spirit. I had been spending even more time in the stacks of late, looking for literature and criticism that supported the case I was making in my Master’s thesis in English literature, arguing that a specifically female heroic journey archetype could be traced in Emily Dickinson’s self-published books of poetry. I was immersed in Dickenson’s language, in the tightly rendered lines that exploded with heat and energy and a ferocity for expression on her own terms. Poetry filled my brain, the stages of the heroic journey penetrated my dreams and all of my reading. I thought it might be wise to find a counterbalance – a book, a voice, a story that might allow my brain to float at ease, a Calgon-take-me-away kind of story. So, perusing the aisles in Stacy’s, looking for something buoyant for my poetry-laden brain, my eyes grazed over the dark blue cover of a large book with gold lettering on the spine: Outlander. I liked the word. I liked the simple design cover. I liked the weight of the book, which meant I could spend some good amount of time sinking into the story. I liked that there was time travel and romance – a perfect combination and the opposite of what I was immersed in with my thesis. I liked that there were two more books in the series.
      Search done.
      Book purchased.
      Emily exchanged for Claire.
      Let the distraction begin.
      That first reading of Outlander calls to mind the image of a swirling drain, water sucked and pulled out of sight into another dimension, out of sight, the force inexorable. I was the water, Outlander the force of nature that sucked me in. I could not put it down. Thesis be damned. My Emily Dickinson collections played host to dust bunnies. Feminist essays and archetypal critiques were shelved. Every waking, non-working hour I devoted to finding out what the hell was going to happen to Claire Randall Fraser. Yes, her Scottish husband Jamie was god-like and a delight to imagine. But Claire – Claire made me hold my breath. She irritated and intrigued. I marveled at her gumption and wits and courage and shook my head at her sometimes rash and foolish decisions. But mostly, she made me wonder – how would I handle such an event as falling back in time? How would I react to my world, as I knew it, coming to an end? Would I have what it takes to survive by my wits, to hold on to my sense of self, to surrender the known for the unknown and still keep my heart open?
      Three weeks and a trilogy later, Claire’s journey through the stones, her losses, her triumphs, her decisions and her actions left me enthralled and chomping at the bit for the next tale in the saga. Returning to my thesis, it came as no surprise, that Claire’s journey was heroic indeed, following the archetypal path inward to the core of her strength. Claire surrenders to naught but her intuition, to the inner voice that guides her through every step – her decision to stay with Jamie and the means to which she resorts to save him, stay with him, leave him and return again, the confidence in her intellect, and her dependence on her inner eye to guide her through surgeries and mothering and journeys across oceans, mountains and time – this was a character that I initially thought I had never seen before. This was not a damsel in distress. This was a female hero – flawed, proud, sexual, determined, intelligent and soulful and soul-guided. And over time I discovered that what Diana Gabaldon had drawn was a woman for the ages – a mirror of women I knew, of women I had met throughout literature, a woman like myself. Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser is Everywoman.
      Claire is Jane Eyre. Claire is Edna from The Awakening. Claire is Janie Crawford in Their Eyes Were Watching God, Elizabeth Bennett and Karen Blixen and Celie and Becky Sharp and Catherine Earnshaw and Lucy Honeychurch. And Katniss and Hermione too. As each new tome was published, I was not surprised when Claire embraced every facet of her life – its beauty and its hardships. Regardless of what happened to her, Claire just got on with it. That’s what heroes do. That’s what every woman does. She get’s on with it.
      When I set about designing the curricula for my English classes at an all-girls high school in San Francisco, I was determined to present literature by women and about women who were determined to be unwaveringly themselves. Women who spoke up, had a point of view, used their voices, led with their hearts and with their heads and who listened to their inner voice. Women who reflected all of the traits of a hero, women like Claire. Though I never taught the Outlander books (I imagine parents would have taken a wee issue with the sex), I recognized her in the other female characters we studied. And indeed, when the world was pulled out from underneath me by a spinal cord injury, I answered my own question – what would I do? Like Everywoman and every woman and Claire, I’m getting on with it.

    31. AvatarLynnLouise

      Thank you Terry for this fun challenge..

      What do I love about Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall Fraser?

      She is a woman who is intelligent, curious and passionate about her beliefs, loves and desires. She is not a woman who shies away from any situation, but has the ability to quickly perceive the circumstances, whether she totally understands them or not, and take action.

      She is a woman whose intelligence has allowed her to adapt quickly to her surroundings, whether they are in mist of WWII, or the Scottish Highlands in 1743.
      To me, she is a natural born leader, who shares information, and makes you strive to better yourself, and at the same time, does not sacrifice all of herself.

      Her curious nature, allows her to become an asset to those around her, by healing the sick, and solving problems to save lives, (the Lily of the Valley poisoning at the Black Kirk, Jamie from Wentworth, and herself from her loss of child).

      She is a direct woman, which I find refreshing, and wish more people were as direct as Claire. In many relationships of today, talking directly is avoided and people cannot bear to hear words other than those of constant praise and admiration. That is why I love the forwardness of the Scottish Highlanders.

      She is passionate about life. She tries to do the right thing regardless of the situation and that takes immense courage. Her passionate nature draws people to her, and these people wish to be like her.

      I love that she is a fighter (stubborn with a mixture of immense drive); she does not give up ever, and realizes her passion in Jamie and knows that they can conquer anything.

      What a wonderful person to be!

    32. AvatarSusanne Armborst

      Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp is a strong, courageous and charming person. She gets to handle with new situations well deliberately, the wandering by the stones, a new century. She gives everything for her great love, at the beginning of Frank and late Jamie, her family and friends. Their health and well-being comes first for her.
      Besides, she also forgets with pleasure sometimes her own welfare. Also by the exercise of her occupation, as a nurse later than doctor. She is always open to new situations and towards new person. She tries to see only the best in the person. For example she tries to convert BJR!! If, however, she is disappointed, she acts like a lioness and fights.
      However, there are also situations where Claire comes to her limits . Then she has despaired, does not know any more further and hopes for support. This gets her by Jamie, Brianna and the rest of her family. A fantastic woman, from which one can learn a lot!!!

    33. AvatarSoBayFan

      Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall Fraser
      A Square Peg

      We all bring our own life experiences to reading or watching the Outlander series. I connect to Claire because I think she is, like myself, a square peg in a round world. Claire doesn’t really fit into the “woman’s role” in either of the times that she lived.

      Claire was born a generation before the woman’s liberation movement… my mother’s era… when women went back to their homemaking after the war. But Claire was raised unconventionally by her Uncle Lamb. She was raised to be independent and think for her self. Her nursing experiences in the war only reinforced that independence and helped square those corners of her personality. After the war, when she returned to Frank, she was expected to fit into that round hole of professor’s wife. I think Claire wanted to be that wife for him. She wanted a home and family. But she also wanted more. After returning through the stones, Claire was not content to be a 50’s Donna Reed type mom. She had a passion for medicine and she wanted to pursue it. She loved her child, but she wanted more. She was a woman ahead of her times.

      Likewise, in the eighteenth century, Claire did not fit into the traditional feminine role. Throughout the books, we see Claire somewhat apart from other women. Although she is the laird’s wife, she let’s Jenny run the household at Lallybroch. On the Ridge she has Mrs. Bugg to worry about meals and cleaning. That is not to say that she can’t love and enjoy other women. It’s just that Claire has a passion to be more than just a wife and mother and that sets her apart from other women of that time.

      Oddly enough, both Frank and Jamie eventually provided Claire with a home and atmosphere where she could be herself and flourish. Jamie recognized Claire’s passions and needs first. However, readers often forget that Jamie was not happy at first with Claire helping out at the hospital in Paris. It was his love for her and understanding that she had a need to do more that finally brought him around. Similarly, had Frank not been willing to watch and help care for Bree, Claire would have given up her career. Both men let Claire be herself.

      How do I relate to all this? Like Claire, I am another square peg. I grew up a tomboy, enjoying boys activities more than girls. I was good in mathematics, which at the time separated me from most women. I worked on spacecraft in the aerospace industry populated by men. Like Claire, I yearned for motherhood as well. Luckily my DH is a secure and generous man who encouraged me to do all that I wanted to do. I’ve had a good life despite the occasional bumps along the road. I think Claire would say the same.

      Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall Fraser is a square peg but, like me, she has found a square hole to reside and is flourishing.

    34. Avatarmaureenanne

      A bouquet for Claire

      I would send a dozen red roses for her beauty and passionate love. I would surround them with heather, moss and baby’s breath for protection, motherly love and eternal love. I would add a sprig of yarrow, fennel, and mistletoe to the ribbon to acknowledge her grief, her strength and her triumphs.

      Claire has been my friend
      From law school to motherhood
      Unforgettable

    35. AvatarLisaW

      A Woman named Claire

      I would love to say that I am the same type of woman as Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser, but honesty compels me to say I am not. Sure I have some of the same qualities as Claire, I have the mouth of a, weel you know, and I love passionately, but there is something more about Claire that makes me read huge books over and over again.
      Claire has courage that makes her compassionate and fierce. World War II begins and what does Claire do, she becomes a triage nurse right on the front lines of the battlefield. A woman of her substance takes what life gives and she give back tenfold.
      After being thrown back to a time when women were not afforded the respect they deserved, Claire faces the challenge and forces herself to fit in as best she can. By fitting in, Claire does not give up the strong woman she is, she uses her strength to make sure the people she is with know that she is a useful person to have with them. She could have so easily watched those men in the cottage force Jamie’s arm back into place, never to be the same, but instead she pushes them away and does what she does best, heal.
      Claire understands men in a way that most women struggle with all their lives. She never begrudges Jamie what he is called to be, “a bloody man”. I am always torn between whether the men are attracted to her because of this, or if they fear her, but I am going to say they are attracted to her. She doesn’t bother with the useless fuddy-duddiness (making up a word here) of women. Let me explain what I mean by this, for me, the fuddy-duddiness looks like; hoping my man knows what I want instead of telling him, or getting upset at him because he doesn’t know. Claire doesn’t have time to waste in getting what she needs, she knows that Jamie doesn’t have the patience or time for this either, this is one of their many strengths in their relationship.
      To say that Claire loves Jamie with all her heart and soul is to speak the truth. Never has a character spoken to me of her passionate ways like Claire does. She is very aware of her feelings for Jamie and does not shy away from them, in fact she seeks him out knowing he gives her a sense of safety. She is honest with him, in a way she never was with Frank. A woman with such understanding of herself is a person that you know you can trust, and Jamie recognizes that in Claire right away.
      I have read each of the Books over many times, and I love so many of the characters Diana has shared with us. However, Claire is a stand out among them, not only because the story belongs to her, but because she is a woman that has seen and lived through many hardships and has remained faithful to her true self. She fights passionately and loves fiercely, and I have been changed in some ways by seeing how a woman, like her, can live in a complicated world, and find a love the spans time and place.
      In 2007 I read Outlander for the first time, and some may say it is just a book of fiction, but to me and many others, it is a story of a woman and her strengths. It has caused me to try to act in ways differently then before in my life. To recognize that I too can be a woman who doesn’t compromise her beliefs. And most of all I have been blessed to meet so many others who admire a fictional character, and hope to find parts of her in themselves, all because of a woman named Claire.

    36. PaulaLovesCOPaulaLovesCO

      Claire Randall, A Woman To Relate To:

      I don’t usually share my life history. Frankly, it’s too painful, so I choose to just move forward with each day. I relate to Claire. A strong woman who, no matter, how many
      times she gets knocked down, she gets back up. I lost my parents young. Not as young as Claire. I was in my 40’s. I have friends that still have parents in their 80’s. Losing your parents knocks you down. But, I had to be strong for my family. So, like Claire, I got back up. 10 years ago, I lost my husband to an illness. I was knocked down. But, I had a son that also was battling an illess that started when he turned 18. So, like Claire, I got back up. I lost my son 8 years ago. Believe me, when I say, I was knocked down. If you have a child or children, you will understand. He was my only child. But, I had 2 choices. Stay knocked down or, like Claire, get back up. I chose to get up. 5 years ago, my only brother died on cancer. My younger brother. My only brother. I saw my family leaving me one by one. I was knocked down again, and once more, like Claire, I chose to get back up. Finally, I hope, 3 1/2 years ago I heard what none us us want to hear, “You have Cancer”. I fought, like Claire fighting the wolf in Diana’s first book. You either choose to lay there and let the wolf snap your neck, or you snap the wolf’s neck. By the grace of God, I snapped cancer’s neck and have been cancer free after going through surgery, chemo and radiation. So, 3 1/2 years later, I am a 63 year old woman, who people can’t believe I am that age and I certaining don’t act that age. I am enjoying life and still kicking it. I still work, stay active & travel. Looking forward to hiking the Mesa Verde in Colorado in July. I could have folded and crawled under the sheets and given up a number of times. But, like Diana’s character, Claire, I chose to get back up and live the life I was given and deal with it. I have fallen in love with Diana’s books and think that the show Outlander is a masterpiece. Caitriona Balfe IS Claire Randall. I hope it will show young women that watch Outlander what it is to be a strong woman. Life will throw you punches. Sometimes more than you deserve. But, at the end of the day, it’s your choice whether to rise again that next morning and make it the best you can. Life is too short, Ye Ken.

    37. Avatargrahamlass

      Dear Great Grandmother Claire,

      I leave in only a few days on my own voyage. I’m sure it won’t be as long or as diverse as yours, however I wanted you to know that you are the inspiration for my choice and will be with me every step of the way.

      When I was a little girl I asked mother to tell me stories, not fairy tales from books, but stories of you. (I hope you don’t mind, but you have been the talk of the family for years.) She told each story in such a fun and engaging way. I loved watching a smile curl from the corner of her mouth or an eyebrow shoot up for theatrical effect.

      I was about eight when she first brought down the box of letters you sent from America. As she read, I wanted to be with you as you helped the people on that mountain. Mother called you a doctor and a healer; to my young imagination that was a powerful combination. I became curious about the restorative components of plants and herbs.

      Today I am now a marine biologist with a specialty in coastal plant life. I accepted a serendipitous offer that now sends me sailing to the Kerguelen Islands. As expedition leader, I will oversee the research of the island’s microscopic plant life in hopes of discovering their unique medicinal uses. Time will reveal if our questions have answers.

      Perhaps packing is the most difficult task in my undertaking. I wish you were here to help me.

      Your most loving granddaughter,
      Elspeth

    38. AvatarRebecca Hoffman

      *There are a few details that are considered SPOILERS. Read at your own risk*
      Here goes nothing…..

      A Heroine to Kindle the Fire

      Ms. Claire Beauchamp and I met 20 years ago. I was in my first year of college – an impressionable 19 year old at the cusp of new experiences in life. My first impression of her was good. I saw her as a strong-minded, awesome woman who was able to take what life threw at her. I fear my infatuation with Jamie overshadowed my idolizing of Claire. Our first meeting didn’t have the powerful affect that in hindsight I wish it had. Outlander was the first book I ever read that had love scenes (again, distracted by Jamie). Looking back, I really wish I had paid more attention to Claire. I think she could have saved me many bad choices and heartaches. I wished I had taken the opportunity to really recognize the strong role model she represented. Did Diana Gabladon know she was giving us such a powerful example of feminine strength?

      I am a daughter of a 1950s-generation mother. She was taught a woman was to be meek, soft spoken, and attentive. Unfortunately for her, when they were handing out those qualities I must’ve been rolling around in the mud with the boys. For years she tried, and tried to “feminize” me. Many a night, I went to bed with soft pink rollers in my hair. Unfortunately, my hair would frizz in a giant dandelion poof; she eventually gave up on the rollers. I was forced to wear dresses to school. My tights rarely made it through the week. There was more than one fight on the playground when I caught boys looking up my dress. In their defense, I was hanging upside down on the monkey bars but still… I delivered my share of punches and strategically placed kicks. My mother finally capitulated and allowed me to wear shorts under my dress.

      I did not have very many strong female role models growing up; however, I was blessed to have an amazing woman in my life: Grandma Cope. She perfected the happy medium between soft and strong. She was the first to calm and soothe; however, you did not want to be the one on the other end of her wooden spoon. My grandfather was known to come home in a drunken haze and deliver unwarranted “lickins’” to his children. One evening, Grandma Cope blocked his way and my grandfather hit her hard enough to bust her eardrum. She never heard out of her left ear again. The important part of the story is that she swung back; she never backed down. He was the one to eventually cower away.

      Grandma Cope was a vibrant woman with fire engine red hair. She seemed immortal; I only wish that was true. She suffered a few strokes. Before the last one left her mute and trapped in her own body, she grabbed my arm and told me, “You do whatever it is you want to do in this world. There isn’t a man or woman alive who can stand in your way. I know strength and determination when I see it. You’ve got fire in your eyes. Let it burn.” She passed when I was 21. My strength and determination wavered.

      Claire visited me again at 22. I was a few years older and wiser and started to soak in some of her qualities. I was still infatuated with Jamie – how can you not be? Reading through Outlander again taught me some lessons I didn’t catch the first time around. I started to see qualities in Claire that I appreciated in my grandmother. Claire reminded me that a woman is responsible for herself and her own happiness. She taught me that I couldn’t rely on another, especially a man, for contentment in life. A strong woman can adapt and survive in any situation. Whether finding myself in unfamiliar surroundings, dealing with life’s harsh realities, or trying to fit into a predominately testosterone driven atmosphere her resiliency set up a path to follow. She was a fictional character and yet she was the example I needed at the time. I found my fire again; I knew what I wanted. As cheesy as it sounds, Claire’s example helped me figure out what I needed to do to get it.

      After many years apart, Claire and I met up again shortly after I turned 38. I took the opportunity to read the rest of her story (or at least what Diana had given us at that time). Claire was a woman who suffered unimaginable heartache, tragic losses, and many, many steps into the dark unknown. Each challenge that blocked her way was handled with a strength and grace that even now I’m still trying to gain. My 22-year-old mind had seen Claire as the epitome of a strong, independent woman. She didn’t need anyone. She could survive on her own. My 38 -(almost 39)-year-old mind sees beyond that survival. Ms. Claire Beauchamp – Randall – Fraser, whatever you want to call her, knew life was more than just surviving. She knew how to love and be loved. She knew that love does not make you weaker but allows you a strength that may otherwise be unknown to you. She knew first hand that you appreciate the ones you love because you never know when they may be gone.

      Claire is so real. She drinks a bit too much at times, has a tendency to speak without thinking, frequently acts without thinking, and lives so passionately that sometimes I fear life will swallow her up. However, she can admit her downfalls. She can take criticism (maybe not right away) and learn from it. She sacrificed many things for the sake of others. My heart broke with hers when she had to walk away from Jamie. One important thing I learned from that was to never give up hope. Twenty years passed before she was able to reunite with Jamie. She knew other things had to happen first. Her daughter needed a chance to grow into adulthood, but the entire time Claire was researching and planning. You can’t let life control you; you are the one with the power – use it.

      We may be living in the 21st century but women are still regarded as second-class citizens. As intelligent women, we need to find and highlight as many positive role-models as possible. I have two teenage daughters. They are not at the age to appreciate Outlander, but I have taught them about their Great-Grandmother Cope. Little by little, I’m introducing them to amazing women – both real and fictional: Sylvia Plath, Audrey Hepburn, Maya Angelou, Elizabeth Bennet, Eowyn (LOTR), Emma Watson….the list could go on and on. I am thankful that Claire, has come back into my life. I needed to be reminded of the fire in my eyes. I’m ready to let it burn for me, for my daughters, and for all the women out there who have lost their spark. Washington Irving once said:

      “There is in every true woman’s heart, a spark of heavenly fire, which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity, but which kindles up and beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity.” (29)

      What has our favorite heroine taught us? We do not need to wait for darkness in order to beam and blaze. We have enough fire to shine through the brightest light. I am woman and I don’t want to roar; I want to shine.

      Irving, Washington. The Sketch-Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. Ed. Susan Manning. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1996. Print.

    39. AvatarGWanner

      Claire: A Companion on my Journey

      I have read and thoroughly enjoyed everyone’s essays. As I’ve read, I have tried to determine what it is about Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall Fraser that has so thoroughly captivated me for the past 23 years. There are certainly many reasons to admire her character; her strength, her passion, her compassion, her loyalty, her wit, her stubbornness, her intelligence and capability. These attributes have been well stated by everyone. I would like to think that I share many of those attributes, but that is not what draws me to her. For me, Claire has always been a part of my own journey. I was 29 years old when I was introduced to Claire. I was newly wed and picked up a novel at the airport for some beach reading on my honeymoon. Not quite the “beach read” I’d anticipated, it was oh so much more. While I have shared NONE of her harrowing adventures, Claire has, nevertheless been with me ever since. She was there while I was learning what it meant to be a wife and how to come to terms with two strong personalities trying to forge a marriage. She was there when I was a new mother, struggling to balance the responsibilities of raising a family and earning a living. She was there when I had life by the tail and when I was struggling, when I was proud of myself and when I felt defeated, when I was a supportive spouse and when I was an unreasonable harpy, when I was the cool mom and then when I was the disdained parental authority, when I was sure of my own worth and when in the quiet of the night I questioned my value. Through all of those things Claire has been a constant, experiencing a parallel, though far different, life. I am now in my 50s, and though through the magic of fiction Claire has aged slightly faster than I, we remain compatriots. Wisdom comes with experience and an appreciation for the frailty of life. Claire has certainly experienced that first hand and I’d like to think that I have gained a similar measure of wisdom. Like Claire, at this stage of my life, I remain passionate, loving and grateful for the blessings of a well-lived life. I’d like to believe that I learned a few things from Claire along the way. I certainly know that I am grateful she has been along for the ride. It has been a joy to see Claire celebrated and her character given such renewed attention! I look forward to seeing where our journey takes us next!

    40. Avatarsophiajames6@gmail.com

      I wonder what might be said of me at a distance of both time and years?
      Was I brave enough, kind enough, honest enough?
      Did I allow empathy and grace to rule me, truth and trust to guide my hands?
      It began with a teacup I suppose. Without Mrs Graham, without the vase, without the need for the knowledge of a plant I held
      only a vague recollection of, could it all have been different?
      Can one skewer time into those pieces worth keeping and throw away the other parts that are not, and yet still live?
      It was never men who made me strong. I always was. From the very beginning courage allowed me to save the lives of some
      and end the suffering of others without looking back. To apologise for too much is to nullify that choice completely and make it worthless.
      Like the sharp edge of a blade, Jamie called me , and he was right, life and death balanced in my hands and only weighed in hope.
      Yet sometimes strength holds flickers of regret.
      To leave a child in order to find what is left of your heart. Is that heroic?
      To wait for a husband to return from the warmed limbs of a lover and say nothing. Is that wise?
      I’ve walked to the very edge of loneliness and then come back to find myself reflected whole in the eyes of a man who let me be me, and more.
      The healing. The plants. The solid stubborness that sometimes was the only thing between success and failure, between right and wrong.
      I am Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randell Fraser and when all is said and done, I have survived.

      1. Avatarsophiajames6@gmail.com

        OOOps I have just worked out what fan fic is and my entry above seems to have broken the rules.
        So here is my reworked entry but this time with a different voice.

        CLAIRE
        Time has been kind to Claire Beauchamp. After fifteen years of history reading these books
        she is still relevant, brave, honest and inspiring.
        She never needed men to make her strong because she was always strong, but the men she did find
        only added to her strength.
        I always loved her choices, difficult choices often and ones she did not apologise for or lessen. She saved the
        lives of some men and she ended the lives of others. Courage lay in her blade and her medicine but so did compassion.
        Always for her life and death was weighed in hope.
        There was regret there too. Such huge life choices could not help but to make her wonder. Leaving a child to go to a man
        who held the balance of her heart, waiting for a husband to return from his lover and saying nothing.
        Loneliness came on the heels of her situation as well but she found a man who let her be her and fought for him in every way she could.
        I loved Claire’s healing skills and her mastery of the plants. I loved her concoctions of medicines and her constant empathy.
        Claire was a survivor in times when it was hard to keep living, in the second world war and in old Scotland.
        But she never lost her passion or her joy or her plain love of people and that’s what made her for me, just amazing.

    41. Avatargwhitman

      Claire…..

      From the beginning of Outlander to Written in My Own Hearts Blood, every time I think of Claire, I see love. For me, Claire is Love.
      When we first meet Claire, she and Frank are on a second honeymoon after being apart due to the war. While the re-acquaintance has some trials in getting to know each other again, we see how hard she tries to make sure that she and Frank work again. Claire is working for their marriage and love.
      Claire has love of country and her fellow man. During the war, she is a field hospital nurse, tending to those who proudly put their lives on the line for country.
      Finding herself through the Stones and what she intellectually perceives to be a different time in history, her confusion makes her wary. Yet when she sees a total stranger in need, Claire’s compassion shines brightly again. She had no idea if these strangers might harm her, still she saw a need and intervened.

      For those who have read the complete Outlander series (to date!), Claire’s love of Jamie, her family, her friends and all those strangers is evident. Claire cannot feign affection. It is not in her nature. Her love is real.
      Do we really think she wants to follow Frank to Reverend Wakefield’s? Probably not. Frank’s work might be important, but not her interest. She loves Frank and supports his research. Haven’t we all done something for love, not because we especially want to, but because we love?
      Resigned to her new life, Claire finds herself in love with Jamie. The deeply in love is not instantaneous and happens over time. That’s what it’s supposed to be. Love becomes deeper and truer over time.
      Love and time. Claire loves others with heart and hands. She heals others. Wherever life and time takes her, even when her heart breaks, she continues to do things for love.

      I am misty eyed as I write. I’ve had time to feel and think. Claire is a fictional character and she isn’t. We share things with Claire. Both the good and the bad. We are not perfect and I don’t think any of us pretend to be.

      We aspire.
      We find in Claire the strength to become the best we can be.
      We love in the way that makes us the individuals we are.
      When we break life down to its simplest components, we find love.

      Thank you Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall Fraser for teaching us LOVE.

    42. mandywhelan96mandywhelan96

      SPOILER ALERT

      I’m not a writer but this is a small essay on how I relate to Claire. It’s been a long time since I wrote anything none-scientific. A fun exercise on working unused muscles (my writing ones)

      Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall Fraser

      I was first introduced to Claire and the Outlander world when my sons were quite young. I read the first four or five books in quick succession (lucky me) and then had to wait like everyone else for Diana to write them. As each new one is about to be published I reread the series again from the beginning to refresh my memory and visit with these dear old friends.

      I relate to Claire on so many levels: daughter, wife, mother, and survivor.

      She is a daughter who lost her parents at a very young age and lived a very different life than most in her time thanks to being raised by her Uncle Lamb. I also lived a different life than most growing up. My father was a teacher and principal in two isolated north-western Ontario aboriginal communities for five years. By the time we left when I was ten, I was bilingual in Oji-Cree, had learned beading and how to make moccasins and mitts, and how to hunt, trap, fish, and live off the land. These early experiences shaped me as they shaped Claire.

      I was lucky to have both my parents in my life till my late 30’s when my father died of a brain tumor. Growing up, they made it a goal to show us the length and breadth of our amazing country. I have been as far west as the western end of the Trans-Canada highway on Vancouver Island (Tofino), as far north as Whitehorse and Yellowknife (when I was four), and as far east as L’Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland where the Vikings landed. We always drove and camped so I got a true appreciation for how vast and unique Canada is from one coast to the other.

      Claire is a wife in two time periods. I am married to a wonderful man who I met in university. We’ll have been married 19 years this August and together for 23. I can’t imagine a life without him. He supports me in all ways and is my best friend. Yes there have been rough times but we get through them together. Claire does that in spades twice over.

      Claire is a mother who has experienced terrible loss and gone on to experience the joy and frustration of raising a child. I too lost my first child as Claire did. I was only 12 weeks along but that pain stayed with me for years. Once in a while I wonder what he or she would have been like. The most amazing thing about having a miscarriage is finding out how many others went through the same thing. The support and comfort they lent me was invaluable, as was the advice. I now have two quite amazing sons who will be 16 and 13 later this year. They could not be more different from one another but they are both kind and empathetic boys/young men.

      Claire is a survivor and amazingly resilient. I don’t know how I would react to suddenly being 200+ years in the past. I hope I would be smart enough to be able to adapt and survive for at least a few weeks in such a foreign environment, surrounded by customs and people I don’t understand, but I really don’t know. She has survived events that can break others but still manages to keep going. Sometimes the scars of those events rear their ugly faces but she continues on with and without the support of her husband(s) and family. Some of the events and people she survives speak to me and some don’t. My heart aches for Claire regardless of whether I have experienced those horrors or not.

      Claire is my hero and I think of her as a dear friend. While I will never meet her in person, I feel I know her intimately. She resides inside me and her trials and triumphs resonate in me. I cheer for her, and cry for and with her every time I pick up one of Diana’s books.

      Claire is me and she is you. At least parts of her are. I think every woman who reads this series finds the parts of Claire that resonate within her and that is what makes Claire such an amazing character – flaws and all.

      Mandy

    43. beth wessonbeth wesson

      CLAIRE MAKES ME PROUD I’M A WOMAN…A REFLECTION.
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      image

      Sometimes when I write, the ideas come quick and demand to be written immediately. Sometimes ideas need to simmer like good soup. I’ve already written quite a bit about Claire and I wondered if there was anything more I could say. The question, “Why is Claire important to me?” kept simmering in my mind’s soup pot. Soon, as it often happens, the answer to my writer’s question began to form through the colliding of seemingly insignificant events and knowledge.

      The world very recently celebrated International Woman’s Day. Busy with my grandchildren, I sort of missed it. Two days later, I was given a picture of myself hugging my oldest granddaughter and it kick started my thinking about women and my role in womanhood. Of course, I blogged about it.

      https://bethwesson.wordpress.com/2015/03/09/when-you-are-a…-is-womans-day/

      My granddaughter laughingly said,” I feel like I’m reading a history lesson about civil rights!” In a way she was. I wrote about how each generation of women has helped to create the wonder that is my granddaughter.

      Writing that article helped me answer part of my question. Why is Claire important to me? Because she is a wonderful example of the women who have gone before and paved the way. She is a wonderful example of women who had the courage to break out of gender-based roles and show the world women could be strong. She shows us that women can be all things; strong, kind, tough, gentle, smart, and intuitive.

      The second half of my question was answered while writing an article about laughing at life. I was thinking of events both good and bad that have happened in my life and wondered if there was anything I would change if I could. I always come to the same conclusion…No… because I don’t know how those events shaped the woman I became. I wonder if Claire would come to the same conclusion?

      We all bring our experiences with us when we read and I brought the story of Corrie Ten Boom with me when I read Claire’s story. Corrie Ten Boom was a Dutch Christian spinster, who saved many Jews from the concentration camps and then was interned for her actions. She lost many family members to the camps including her beloved father and sister. She survived and then spent the rest of her life travelling the world telling her story of how there was no pit so deep that God was not deeper still. Corrie carried with her a bit of needlework to use as a visual representation of how life works. She would first show people the underside of the needlework. They would see nothing, but a mess of different colored thread crossed and knotted. If they looked very closely they might be able to see a pattern, but it wouldn’t be clear. Corrie would then say that is because we can only see the underside of life and we don’t know why certain threads are used or how. The dark threads she points out might be as important as the light. She would then turn the cloth over to reveal a beautiful crown.
      No one could accuse Claire of having lived a soft life. She lost her parents at a tender age and spent her formative years travelling in third world environs. I believe these seemingly “dark threads” helped to form Claire’s coping skills, attitudes and values.

      Why is Claire important to me? Because she is a good example of how to learn from all of the experiences of your life. Her experiences served her well. She learned how to handle whatever life threw her. She learned what is worth spending your energy on and what isn’t. She learned valuable lessons about what is truly important in this life and her exposure to different people and cultures helped her know herself which in turn helped her gain a heart for people.

      Over and over again we were able to read of Claire adapting to change and unexpected situations. She may have expressed concern, dismay and even grief, but she always picked herself up, dusted herself off and found a way.

      Why is Claire important to me? Because she shows us a woman can persevere and adapt. She always finds a way to make the best life for herself with dignity and often with humor. I have always admired her ability to laugh at the ironies of life.

      I can’t think of an example when Claire was a willing participant in any kind of malicious gossip or intentional hurtful behavior toward another woman or anyone for that matter. Oh, there were people she didn’t care to spend time with, but even that choice was never spiteful. Claire has just learned it is best to avoid poison people and situations if you can. She doesn’t dwell on people whose values and views don’t match hers. If she doesn’t want to cover her head, she doesn’t. If she wants to spend her time healing the sick, she will. Why is Claire important to me? Because she shows us that it is possible to live without the approval of other women or men. She doesn’t need others to validate her or her choices.

      That doesn’t mean she won’t fight if she has to! Why is Claire important to me? Because she stands up for what she believes is right and doesn’t sweat the small stuff. How many times throughout the story do we see Claire ride or walk or crawl for that matter to right injustice, many times at her own peril and to Jamie’s frustration. We see her leave her husband to care for a ship full of plague, fight to stop the slaughter at Culloden and even offer her daughter the option of an abortion. On the other hand, she does not easily take offense, is tolerant of other’s beliefs and does not need to always be right.

      Why is Claire important to me? Because she is a wonderful example of a woman who knows what is really important in life. Claire knows that in the end it is all about relationships and people. I credit her experiences of travelling the world and having few possessions for teaching her this lesson that so many folks come to realize late, if ever. I never read of Claire being worried about possessions, or fashions, or money, or position. She is not motivated by greed or political gain. If they have enough food, clothing and shelter, Claire is happy. It isn’t that she doesn’t enjoy nice things; she does, but, she doesn’t need them. It is very telling of her worth that the “things” she does treasure are never her own purchases, but rather gifts like the Indian amulet and her medicine chest.

      And finally, Why is Claire important to me? Because she is a woman who knows her own worth and mind. Claire doesn’t bother with false modesty. She knows what she is good at and uses those gifts and abilities to help others. Conversely, she knows what she isn’t good at and circumvents her weaknesses. One of things I most admire about Claire is her lack of guile and her unwillingness to lie to herself. Time and time again, we see her take ownership of her thoughts and feelings even when she doesn’t like what she is thinking or feeling. There is real power there. It is difficult to be manipulated when you own your “stuff”.

      For all these reasons and more, Claire is a woman to be admired and emulated. Truly, I could point to her as a proud example of womanhood. I believe Claire’s example of what it means to be a good and proud woman will stand the test of time. Ms. Gabaldon has written a woman for the ages. She represents the epitome of what it means to be a woman of worth and substance. Claire makes me proud I’m a woman.

    44. MistahbueMistahbue

      What does Claire mean to me? Wow

      First time I’ve ever put this to words so please forgive my rabbit trails.

      This past week I was on phone with my Mother and we were getting names and dates together for me to plug into our online ancestry page. As I started making connections with various this xxx great grandparent it really jumped out at me that the stories – very few – passed down had a lot of our history jumbled up. I looked and saw direct links from me all the way darn near to Noah that lead me to Scotland, Ireland, and England.

      Fast forward to later in the day and I’m reading (SPOILER ALERT if you’ve just started the series) Claire’s narrative about the latest goings on at Fraser’s Ridge. It hit me like a bolt of the blue – Diana Gabaldon has created someone who is very much like one of my however many times great Grandmothers – in that time and place. And I love her. Not because of the popularity of Outlander – I myself had NEVER heard of the books prior to the series (thank you my friend Catriona R for insisting I read them). I love her because she is a reflection of the footsteps that lead to the present – and to me.

      I love Claire because she embodies the spirit of the people who for whatever reason found themselves on the shores of this new world. I love Claire because I see a code in her fictional character that really did live on in those mountains. I know Fraser’s Ridge isn’t real. But my ancestors dotted those North Carolina mountains for numerous decades before leaving for lower ground in Tennessee and Georgia. Claire experiences life as they did – encounters with Indians (my GGGGrandmother is Cherokee/Shawnee married to a Scot); learned to live off a land that had plants she may or may not have seen from across the large pond. When she is mixing herbs, roots, or leaves I can hear the voice of my Grandma saying ‘now you take this plant here and….’ I love Claire because she wants to teach what she knows. She doesn’t want her ways to die. She wants a future to know how the Old Ones survived.

      I love Claire because family is the most important thing in the world to her. Not convenience, not worldly goods, money, etc… The love of her clan, her kin. Even though she is outside her own time she understands that without family there is nothing. Warts and all she accepts her family and to hell with the rest of the world.

      I love Claire because she makes me long to know my long passed ancestors. Oh to just be able to sit down and have a cup of coffee or tea with them for an afternoon chat!!!

      Thanks for letting me ramble
      Happy St Patrick’s Day
      Happy St Gertrude’s Day
      Sláinte

    45. AvatarJAMIES TX GIRL

      Every Womans’ Claire

      Claire- a woman who began as the love of one man yet never let go of what she felt was her calling, her aspirations. She did as she must to follow her dreams. A woman of strength, courage, and determination who showed us that no matter the situation you can find your way through it. Claire embodies that dream. It is that ability to be who you need to be at the moment, that critical moment that forever will change your life, and yet with that vunerability to let go. Letting go to be loved, forgiven, remembered, embraced, and loved. Claire continued this path as she passed again, and again through the stones. She inspired us. We will never be the same thanks to our heroine. She had shown me via her struggles, tragedies, and triumphs that love will find you again. That there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I love Claire, her beauty, her style. It always shined through, and that is how Jaime was never the same – Ever. Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall Fraser – Mrs Jaime Fraser- How could you not love her!

    46. kladislauskladislaus

      Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser Randall Fraser Grey Fraser, Our Claire

      Our dear Claire, she is so many things to so many people. Most would agree she is a fascinating character. While it is said she has a glass face, she does manage to wear many masks with great success. Let’s take a peek under a few.

      First, Claire the orphan. That may seem strange aspect to focus on in view of the larger part of her story. However, the death of Claire’s parents set the stage for everything that follows for the character. Growing up travelling all over the world with an archaeologist uncle who raised her from age five to nineteen, while making her a very worldly woman, never allowed for “home”. Even gypsies have a caravan home. Claire had who knows how many temporary homes around the world she had growing up.

      The desire for home, a sense of place is probably one of the larger reasons at so young of age Claire was ready to marry Frank. He was older, well-situated career wise and likely offered stability, and he loved her and she loved him. Unfortunately war erupted and separated them for years and “home” was postponed.

      Let’s think a moment on what is required from a nurse in a triage environment. Doctors and nurses need to focus on the patient and wear a mask of calm. A man with a missing limb or dangling vital organs isn’t going to have a hope of making it if the medical staff give them looks of horror and surprise are they? Claire has over and over shown us that mask of calm with her patients. Let’s call it the healer’s mask, the one that gives you courage when you need it most.

      That is where we meet Claire. She has just finished years of working as a field combat nurse. The only blood relative she had, dear Uncle Lamb is killed during the war in a London bombing raid. Leaving the sole person left in her life to love and to love her, her husband Frank. Frank is her everything. One never learns if Claire has friends, any gal pals. There is something a little lonely about Claire, yet she is not afraid to be alone. She has worn a mask of brave face under what must have been great sadness.

      When Claire falls through the stones, she manages to hide her fear from the Highlanders as well as Captain Jack Randall. Her feisty continence has been throughout all the books, what I call her “fear-naught” mask. Even though she may be worried about the outcome in many situations, Claire wears her “confident” mask and does not give herself away to her enemies.

      My favorite Claire mask isn’t a mask at all, but a skill Claire keeps under her hair in that intelligent brain of hers. Her witty sarcasm, especially when it comes to social commentary, is truly art. That and her references from her own time have given the reader some very fine moments when Claire has left Jamie wondering, “What was that”?

      Returning to the Claire the orphan, she has always looked for home. Yes, Jamie Fraser, her soulmate and the great love of her life is her anchor and spiritual home. But Claire also sojourned a very long time looking for a physical place called home. She had hoped Lallybroch was that place, but it wasn’t meant to be. Fraser’s Ridge became the home she craved. For the times she was away from it, she yearned for it, to be home again. As Claire ages, and we see her frailties begin to show a little, I find myself wanting her to finally have that happy ending of home and family. No more masks, just perfect contentment for her. I want that happily ever after ending for our Claire.

    47. beth wessonbeth wesson

      I just wanted to say WOW! Had a chance to finally read the submissions! Wonderful. Thank you all for sharing. Sorry mine is on here a couple of times I didn’t see it had posted. I’m a bit tech savy less!

    48. Avatarvidochka

      There are many reasons why I love Claire! She is a beautiful, stubborn, passionate and independent woman. Things she encounters on her life journey are incredible and one could hardly imagine someone could survive such forces. And I am only in the middle of the second book, eager to know what she will have to encounter next.

      But her strength makes me think of someone very dear to me – my grandmother. Things she went through in her life. Born into a big family her childhood was full of responsibilities of taking care of her siblings when her father and brother were taken to a concentration camp. Not being able to speak her mother tongue during war and always being careful of what she was saying not to provoke her safety or safety of her family. I still remember the chills I felt when she told me of the day when the army entered her village and demanded information on the location of local boys and men, fighting for their homeland. And how a young man she knew so well, now a soldier, pulled out the rifle and pointed it to her sister who might as well be his sweetheart from earlier days and demanded answers. My grandmother grabbed the rifle – that cold metal killing machine and leaned it to her chest and asked him to kill her at once if he can not remember that they grew up together and played in the same fields and sang the same songs…
      She also told me of how she was, without knowing, an important messenger on her bike carrying only one word – “YES” to the neighbour village, scared, puzzled but brave enough to reach her goal and deliver the message.
      It seems as if it all has been a preparation for what life would throw at her – for the stroke after giving birth to my dad and a huge loss she had to endure after losing her husband at only 35 years old, left with two children and a farm. But she kept on going, surviving, moving on in life always vibrant and strong despite all. It is the quality that Claire represents as well and it is something I strive for myself.

      And the funny part is, my grandma has a framed photo of Stonehenge in her living room – a place she always wanted to visit. Hmmmm – I wonder why? Might she be a time traveler herself?

      Happy Birthday Babi! I love you!***

    49. Avatargailkr

      Hello All – I’m training a new puppy so I’ll be short and sweet…

      Claire embodies what I wish to cultivate in myself. She is courageous, honest in her opinions (and in bed), intelligent, and possesses physical and spiritual beauty that gets better as she ages. While she may be “Queen” to Jamie’s “King”, I truly appreciate all her references to the many everyday matters of being a woman, especially one entering menopause. When does a modern day heroine ever speak of her period, the use of almond cream in the bedroom, or hot flashes? This brings our Claire down from the pedestal in which she is sometimes placed, and makes her someone most women would love to have a conversation with over a cup of coffee – I love that about her!

    50. Avatarsophiajames6@gmail.com

      I love reading the submissions. How wonderful Diana is to write about a woman who has been relevant
      in our lives for so many years and across all the changing phases and problems.

    51. marthamartha

      Claire.Just a name? Just a woman or a woman that we would like to be?
      What if your future was your past, and your past became your future? What would you have done?
      Don’t we always wonder, what if? Claire give us the opportunity to enter a time travel, which is not only a travel in time, but a travel in our souls. She is someone we would like to be; passionate, true, lover, mother, friend, fighter, pioneer in both time periods. She is strong, but at the same time vulnerable, she is stubborn, but this stubbornness, can be a weapon, as long as she uses it right. She makes mistakes, but of course, this can only be human and she gets to learn from them. She is beyond her time, whether it’s the 20th century or the 18th century. She is a teacher, but at the same time a teacher.
      What does Claire teach us? But of course the meaning of life, the purpose of everything: love. It might sound simple and naive, but that’s the truth. Everything she conquers is due to love. That’s is what she subconsciously advices us. If we love those around us and we love what we are doing, we can conquer the world. Our own world, our everyday life.

      So, that’s my petit essay on Claire. 🙂

    52. elizlkelizlk

      It quickly became clear that Claire is a woman who doesn’t put up with being told what she can and can’t do. She had me at “… and so can St. Paul,” early in Outlander. She takes on challenges – both the ones she creates, and the ones thrust on her – and guts it out without whining. She uses her smarts and her skills, and even her body when necessary. She definitely has “courage to change the things she can,” even if she sometimes doesn’t exercise the “wisdom to know the difference.”
      I’ve gone back to the Outlander books at various points since I first read Outlander in 1995. I use them as a great escape read, because Claire and the other characters draw me in to their stories. They are a sure-fire way to close down my “monkey brain” before sleep.
      More recently, I’ve found Claire’s character useful as inspiration for challenges in my own life. Particularly as we are both older, and she shows more vulnerability. I’m re-reading Written In My Own Heart’s Blood now, and we have some things in common. In Ch 118, The Second Law of Thermodynamics, Claire worries that her efforts don’t matter, and has flashbacks to being assaulted and raped that can immobilize her with fear, if she allows it. She has Jamie to serve as support and foil, and I envy her that partnership. I realized today that I can use Claire, in part, to remind me that what I’m struggling with is worthwhile, and that I can’t allow fear to get into my head. Claire’s story is a reminder to find the courage I need to keep fighting.

      Thanks again to Diana Gabaldon for writing such powerful characters, and to Terry for asking for this reflection.

    53. AvatarTory-Ann Torres

      Who is Claire, do we really know. Where did she come from. Diana Gabaldon says that Claire talks to her. Diana always makes it sound like Claire really talks to her. I am never quite sure what she means when she says that.

      Could Claire be the embodiment of the hopes and dreams of woman through out time. Is Diana able to pluck this from the Cosmos during her midnight musings. I recognize myself when I read about Claire’s ability to take things in stride as she travels and explores the 18th century world with her beloved Jamie at her side. My husband is from Cusco Peru and we have traveled there many times during the past 28 years of marriage. (Spoiler Alert)….

      It often felt like I was stepping back in time when I went there. I can empathize with Briana and Roger as they strive to raise children who can thrive in two worlds. It is exciting to live like that but not for the faint of heart. And then there is Master Raymond. He is a part of Claire as well. We do not even know where his story will take us. There really are a lot of unanswered questions surrounding how time travelers are connected and how far back in time. I am sure Diana has some idea. Tantalizing nuggets of information are strung out throughout Diana’s books and novellas.

      Claire’s story that captivates me every time I start the process of reading the books again. I am currently sitting in the galley with Aloysius O’Shaughnessy Murphy and watching as he tries to prepare a tempting broth for a very sea sick patient. I do not have a favorite book in the series because my favorite is what ever one I am currently reading. The character of Claire is so multifaceted that I can not get enough of reading about her. Take note of how she befriended Mr Murphy. “Saffron” she told him, “Cardamom, and vanilla beans from Ceylon” she said firmly. Claire tailors her approach to the situation. She is a wizard. She works magic. But her heart can still be broken. Claire is vulnerable and she feels the pain of loss. As in real life, she and we, cannot have all of our loved ones with us all the time. Pain is part of our experience.

      The ability to sacrifice both love for duty and safety for love is a part of the warp and woof of the fabric of Diana’s story about Claire. Sacrifices can be painful and they give us character, and make us stronger, more vibrant. Sacrifice is the foundation of every one of the books. The story of these sacrifices throb with life. I may never know for sure how Diana came to write about Claire but Claire’s sacrifices give me courage to push myself past what feels comfortable, to challenge my self, to cut through barriers, take calculated risks, to reach out to those who I love and to the world at large and to see the core of who and what they are and embrace it.

    54. Stormy PetersonStormy Peterson

      Claire Beauchamp: An Eighteenth Century Riot Grrrl

      Claire Beauchamp was born a wild woman; intimately connected to her sacred untamed nature from the start, vividly illustrated by the failed attempt at enrolling her in boarding school. Not even Uncle Lamb, and his unconventional child rearing methods can take credit for the ferocity of the ancient feminine burning within our young heroine. Orphaned, underestimated, and unexpected to have any sense of agency over her own person, this child quickly becomes her own advocate by demanding better, and more for herself, her life, and her future taking, quite possibly, her first step toward becoming the accidental feminist she spends the rest of her life being. Following no one else’s guidelines or framework for how a “liberated” woman is supposed to be, she however, observes, and sources from the lives around her in order to create the woman she is continually becoming, always incorporating the new material with who, and what she already, naturally, is. It is when she is faced with the input of others, or criticized that we see her internally question herself, and struggle to reconcile who she is with who others think she should be, and see her trying on different roles both in her present time, and her eighteenth century life when it is suggested that her approach to life or a certain circumstance is incorrect leaving us to witness a woman slowly suffocating beneath the socially acceptable mask of “propriety” culminating in an extreme, or desperate action to breathe again (shattered wine bottles, and ruined dinner parties come to mind), but always the return to center — her most inherent self is the conclusion.

      Through Claire we learn that authenticity is not a glamorous or tidy business, and can only be dressed up in a package that meets societal expectations when society itself is no longer determined to deny its dire importance. Women are neither served, nor serve well whilst striving to attain a standard not created by any consensus of their own by altering themselves in order to be nice, likable, or neutral. Claire may keep quiet to save herself, and those around her from dangerous situations (and sometimes even that’s a task!), but she’s never going to “shut-up” or play herself down in order to make other people more comfortable with themselves, meanwhile demonstrating an inclusion that is rare in female sisterhood even today. Claire is a spectacular contradiction; a one woman revolution coupled with Caitriona Balfe who comes across both personally, and on screen as someone as effortlessly unapologetically herself as the character she is portraying, I am reminded of Laurel Thatcher Ulrich’s words: Well behaved women seldom make history. Claire Beauchamp isn’t making history, she’s reinventing it.

    55. Liana111Liana111

      Claire. Claire Beauchamp. Claire Randall. Claire Fraser.
      Nurse. Wife. Mother. WOMAN.

      Now more than ever, women are standing up and fighting for their rights; to have equal pay; to finally be acknowledged for their talents and skills; and most of all, to be regarded as equal. Now more than ever women need strong female role models who will encourage them to fight for their voices to be heard, to stand tall and proud, to be strong in the face of adversary, to embrace their differences and not to conform to the norm.

      Claire embodies all these things and more. Even as a young woman living in the 1940s Claire was a woman who was ahead of her time. Losing your parents at a young age and being a nurse in World War II will do that to a person. At a young age Claire gallivanted to exotic places with her Uncle Lamb, who was an archaeologist. She experienced things no “normal” English child would have, and met all kinds of different people from all walks of life. Her colourful childhood would have enabled her to have an open-mindfulness when it came to people who were of different cultures and religions.

      As a woman in her early twenties, Claire witnessed many horrors as a World War II nurse. She would have been confronted with blood, loss of limb, post-traumatic stress disorder and death, yet we know that she was a brave and compassionate nurse whose patients were always her first priority. At the same time, though, she must have been missing her husband Frank greatly. Did she stop and urgently search each young man as they came into her care, hoping against hope that her Frank wasn’t on one of the stretchers? No doubt she would have, but she still didn’t allow her attention to waver. Witnessing so many atrocious things strengthened Claire – just as it strengthened all the people involved in wars – soldiers and nurses alike. It was there that she realised that she had an inner strength that would later come in handy, especially in Scotland.

      Travelling back in time and having your world turned upside down would have anybody on edge and fearing for their lives, yet Claire didn’t take long to adapt and work out a plan to get back to the 1940s and Frank. However even though she was in a foreign place with foreign people her instincts as a nurse were still in place and she quickly set to work patching up Jamie and other highlanders. She carefully studied her surroundings and did her best to fit in – probably as she would have done when she was a young girl travelling with her adventurous Uncle Lamb. One of the things she had to do to survive was to marry Jamie – an arranged marriage to a man that she barely knew, with a husband waiting in the 1940s for her, and yet she did not shy away from this task, but rather faced it head held high- knowing that it was necessary for her survival. That didn’t mean that she had to like it, though, and Jamie soon learnt what he had gotten himself into. He wasn’t marrying a willing, submissive 18th century wife, but rather an independent, strong-willed, passionate woman from the 20th century. Claire was an enigma to him and to everyone else. She was unlike any other woman in 18th century Scotland – perhaps a reason why so many people were drawn to her, (in both good and bad ways).

      Going back to Frank after she had fallen in love with Jamie was not something she wanted to do, but something she had to do for the sake of her and Jamie’s unborn child. It must have been incredibly hard to leave somebody behind, knowing that you most likely would never see them again, yet Claire did just that. In the twenty years she was away from Jamie, Claire flourished – becoming a mother and studying to become a doctor. Jamie never left her mind, but she did not let that get her down and kept forging ahead – carving out a career for herself. Once again she was adapting to the time and environment she was in – something she had done her whole life. In the end, love prevails and Claire found her way back to Jamie after twenty years apart, and thinking that he was dead.

      Although the Outlander series can be classified as a ‘fantasy’, as none of us would ever travel through time (unfortunately), Claire is still the ultimate female role model. All the hardships she has gone through – such as losing a child, being separated from a loved one, and being assaulted are things that a lot of women can relate to. Being judged or labelled as something we’re not is also something we females face on a daily basis. Day after day we face challenges both in our personal lives, and in the wider world. Yet I believe that we as women are stronger than we realise; we are survivors, and I believe that if any of us were to be thrown back in time that we would find ways to survive as well; just as Claire has done. However, life isn’t always fair or easy, and I believe that having a strong female role model like Claire to lead the way and encourage us to empower ourselves and to stay strong during hardships, is a valuable thing to have, and I think all females who read the Outlander series will always be incredibly grateful to Diana Gabaldon for creating such an inspirational, strong, empowered female character, and to Cait for stepping up and bringing her to life with such grace and dignity.

      Now, if only we could all have our own Jamie’s too….

    56. AvatarMartina

      Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser

      I work downstairs from the Ether Dome at Massachusetts General Hospital, where the first surgery under anesthesia was performed. It was a discovery that changed medicine, and in the painting and photographs that memorialize the event, one aspect stands out. Every person in the pictures is male. There are no nurses, no female patients, no female students looking on and learning. Even today, a woman surgeon is a creature apart…someone driven to succeed, to learn, to accomplish great things.

      When I first read the Outlander books (pretty much within a week of the publication of each) Claire’s work life as a nurse during WWII was one of the things that made her special to me. There are many nurses in my family, and I know what it takes to be able to be kind and tough at the same time.

      In Voyager, when we learn that she has become a surgeon, she impressed me even more. For a woman in the 1950’s, married to a Harvard professor, with a child, to do everything that needed to be done to become a surgeon was just incredible. That an author could create a character that made me believe that she could do all those things was even more incredible. Claire really came alive for me then…she was a woman with an unbreakable will, and one who I completely believed would have been able to survive and thrive in the 18th century.

      To me, Claire’s love for Jamie is just one aspect of her remarkable character. She is drawn as a woman capable of great love, with an endless capacity to forgive, an ability to heal the insides and the outsides of her patients, and with a steely intelligence that helps her accomplish wonders in both her times. In some ways, I’m glad that it’s taken as long as it has to bring her to the screen, so that the team bringing her to us is as accomplished as she is…thank you!

    57. Avatarfleetinglogic

      These are wonderful essays, like a lovely book of gratitude. I wanted to add my own, about Claire’s relationship with Jamie, so not really within the guidelines, so I won’t place my hat in this amazing ring, but more cheering from the sidelines, as a fan of Terry and Claire and Diana G.

      When I was first told about the books, I’d been through a terrible break-up from a man who turned out to be incredibly dishonest in every way, and it broke me. Reading about Claire and her relationship with Jamie helped me to begin healing. What stood out to me was their fierce honesty and integrity, and loyalty to each other, with an equally fierce insistence on being treated with love and respect. For them, these qualities informed ‘right action’ (if I may co-opt a Buddhist term).

      The challenge for Claire and Jamie is that ‘right action’ could be very different between their two centuries, which has both humorous and horrifying results. But their insistence on right action continues (even when it demands risking their life), and to watch them try to navigate this, and consider where to compromise and where to refuse compromise, has been a great gift to me.

      I’m so grateful to Terry and Ron and their gifted team/village (teeming metropolis!), for bringing these books to life so impeccably, and introducing Claire and her compatriots and their ‘right action’ to a broader audience.

    58. Avatarsallybaker1968

      Claire,
      The moment I met you, I swear
      I felt as if something, somewhere
      Had happened to me, which I couldn’t see
      And then, the moment I met you….again.
      I knew in my heart that we were friends.
      It had to be so, It couldn’t be NO
      But try, as hard as I might do, I don’t know why
      You get to me in a way, I can’t describe
      Words mean so little
      When you look up and smile
      I don’t care what people say
      To me you’re more than a….Fictional character?

      Okay, so apart from the last two, those were the words of Irish songwriter Gilbert O’Sullivan, but they really do sum up my thoughts about why Claire Beauchamp Randal Fraser is just such a Rockstar!

      Now, I’m an Outlander Newbie!
      I saw a few pictures of ‘The Wedding night’ episode on Instagram and was like ‘Shut the front door!’
      What is this program and who are this gorgeous couple and where do I watch it?
      Then came the horrifying news from my American friends. It’s set in Scotland…with UK actors BUT…It’s not available in UK. What a downer!
      So after lots of research and late night chats I discovered that while I could only watch bits and bobs of the tv show on-line I could, in fact go the the source of the story and read the original books!
      Happy days!
      So my Christmas list consisted of Books 1-7 and in 4 months I’m on Book 7; An Echo in the Bone.

      Well, what an incredible journey I’ve been on with Claire.
      From WW11 1945 to Scotland 1743 then Voyaging around the World to the Americas.

      Throughout all the many situations she finds herself she’s a powerhouse of calm and virtue. A subtle mix of intellect and charming ladylike demeanor with a mouth that can on occassion ‘swear like a trooper’ as my Nan would’ve said. British Army medic 1945 will do that to a girl!
      This was a tough era to survive in and Claire knows what she has to do.
      A quick witted, straight talking, no-nonsense feisty minx, a capable nurse, battle experienced and comfortable within a group of men!

      This is the woman who ‘forgets her underwear’…(Oopsy, on purpose more like) while visiting a neglected castle with her Professor husband and in a wonderfully erotic planned seduction, directs him to go downtown on her, on a dirty, dusty table no less. Well I never…that was unexpected!
      Then they happily trot back to have tea and biscuits with the Vicar.
      I knew I liked her when I saw this scene and at this point she’s pretty much perfect.

      When she falls back in time and into Jacobite Scotland 1743, her first actions are shouting down and swearing at a British Officer, whose a rather nasty look-a-like of her Frank, and then calmly, confidently and very caringly popping back in a dislocated shoulder joint of a rather attractive and passionate young Scottish Highlander whose friends all think she’s a whore.
      All while wearing a thin cream dress in the rain!
      What a woman!
      It’s at this part of Claires story that her ability to adapt like a chameleon really set her apart and her struggles to forget or return to loyal Frank or to leave or stay with passionate Jamie take her on some heart wrenching decision making and ultimately shape the future Doctor and Surgeon she becomes.

      Frank loves her.
      Jamie loves her.
      I love her!

    59. Tgertsen21GTgertsen21G

      My thoughts on Claire Beauchamp:

      I have to say when it comes to Claire she is just an amazingly strong woman! “What a role model”. It would take bravery and courage along with a lot of daring to live in 1945 during World War II let alone in the wilds of the Highlands in1743.
      I am only going by what I know of Claire so far from the Starz Outlander series one and reading book one by Diana Gabaldon but I have completely fallen in love with her character.
      The one thing I love about Claire Beauchamp is that she makes me feel like I’m living the life she is telling along with feeling everything she has gone through in the process of trying to figure out how to handle all the differences of being a woman in 1743 when women didn’t have many rights compared to1945. Claire in 1945 had to learn to adapt to the war which I cannot even fathom some of the horrors she has had to witness while tending the injured, having to make quick decisions but at least she was able to make these decisions without repercussions.
      Whereas in 1743 men like Father Bane were good reasons to fear repercussions. If Father Bane could have he would have had Claire punished as a witch when she helped Mrs. Fitzgibbons nephew after he was poisoned (Claire was a bit stubborn about helping of course and gained an enemy in the process). Can you imagine helping a sick person and it being construed as witchcraft because the beliefs were so different from your own?
      If I would have dropped in 1743 I am not sure I could have survived as well as Claire did, she showed remarkable strength not just physically but emotionally as well as flexible in being able to adapt to her surroundings. You would have to be strong to loose someone you love like Claire did Frank, always defending yourself because at every turn someone like Father Bane and even the MacKenzies are suspicious of what or who you are. I know I sound like I am doing an essay on Outlander it’s self but I’m not! These settings are just as important as Claire is in that you get a feeling for what was happening around her.
      Claire brings so many feelings to life just sitting here trying to put what I feel for her on paper brings sorrow for what she’s lost, anger for what she has to endure and joy for what she finds true love (Jamie). How can you not fall in love with a character like Claire? Claire has her flaws but so do most of us and that is what makes her seem so real.

      Thank you,
      Tina Gertsen

    60. Avatarleslie

      Claire Elizabeth Beachamp Randall Fraser, she is every woman at one point in time, or any other. Her character is rich with strength, compassion, and love. I love this character because she is relatable. Through her own life experiences she deals with scenes that could come from anyone’s life. The loss of her parents, having to grow up faster than she should have, marrying young, and meeting someone that makes her heart skip a beat but isn’t her husband. These themes carry on through time over and over, no time travel needed to understand the conflict she feels and the weight of the decisions she must make. Although the story takes her through time to land roughly in the eighteenth century, the theme of her struggles are universal.

      Claire is strong, much stronger than she gives herself credit for being. Losing a parent or parents at a young age is a profound place to find yourself, the situation changes the way you see the world. I understand from experience Claire’s disregard for the rule of thumb. Loss of parents or a parent shows us that we can live through what feels like the worst anyone could throw at us. What punishment could possibly hurt as much, whose opinion or consideration could conceivably mean as much to her? This gives freedom, the edge one needs to truly make decisions that will bring happiness to your life, to Claire’s life. Claire’s upbringing with Uncle Lamb was not for the faint of heart, her life demanded strength at that time as it does when she finds herself in seventeen forty three with the Mackenzie Clan. Strength is what kept Claire from becoming a blubbering ball of a female when walking through the door of the cottage after Murtagh saves her. It is the same strength that allowed her to serve her country on the front lines of WWII. Claire’s strength is also shown in the ability to be vulnerable. Sometimes willingness to show vulnerability can be the strongest move to be made.

      Compassion is one of Claire’s best traits, she has the ability to empathize with those around her. Her compassion is what makes her a great healer. It is also this compassion that allows her to take her situation with some sense of stride. The people around her are living rough; she knows a better, easier life will be had in the future but she doesn’t begrudge them for not having the comforts she is used to. Claire has a strong sense of what is right and what is wrong; her compassion for others drives this sense of fairness and justice. Claire feels with her whole heart, her compassion makes her ever loving of life and eventually those she finds herself with. Her willingness to take on the task of stopping the massacre at Culloden Moor; her willingness to do everything she can to change the history of a country is amazingly brave and heartfelt. A lesser person would not have had the gumption for such a noble cause.

      Love is apparent in Claire. She has love in her heart and soul. Her love for Jamie transcends time and space. Love is at the core of this character. She loves her first husband Frank, she is desperate to find a way to reconnect with him before her trip through the stones. She continues to beg for compassion for Black Jack Randall in Jamie’s dealings because of her love for Frank. She falls completely in love with Jamie and risks life and limb to save his life and his soul in the first book, and she continues to not only love him but be in love with him over their twenty year separation and the years they spend together once reunited. She holds Jamie in her heart and her love for him overflows. This love she has is given to Jamie’s family with no strings, to Fergus and Bree, to Roger, and all their grandchildren. Claire finds love in her heart for Marseli and eventually compassion for Loaghire in the sense that she doesn’t want to see the woman hurt or sad. Her love is boundless, her love is real, and her passion for life resonates from this place of love. Love drives Claire to take chances others may be too afraid to contemplate. From saving Jamie at Wentworth; taking the trip back through the stones to her own time; giving up her life in nineteen sixty seven for a chance to find her one true love. None of the obstacles in front of her are big enough to overpower her love for the people around her, and none of the choices she has to make are easy because of the love she feels.

      Claire’s character in the books, and in the television show are a wonderful demonstration of what it means to be human, to be a woman, and to be in love. Every woman can relate to finding an unbefore known strength in their lives when they needed it most. That strength is in Claire, balanced with her compassion for the world around her regardless of what time she finds herself living in. Most women strive to find this balance of strength and compassion in their own lives, their work and their children and families force all women to be more than just one or the other. Love is another reason I love Claire and this story. All women, and men I would assume want to find a love that is true and lasting. A love that can take on all obstacles and come out the other end. Claire’s devotion to Jamie and to his family is a trait everyone looks for in their mate. The relationship Claire has with Jamie is a partnership of love, they are in this life together and no amount of struggle will defy that love. They share their lives with each other and their love for one another in the way we all want to be loved. The passion they show for each other, in anger, in lust, in the everyday things they do for each other are how we want to be treated. Claire is a woman in love, through all the pages and shows we know she is in love and will do anything, go anywhere to keep that love alive.

      I hope you enjoy my take on Claire, I found the books after I started watching the television show and I have read all eight books. Some more than once. I truly appreciate the wonderful job done on the show and I am eagerly awaiting Diana’s book nine.

    61. CrisCris

      His love guided me to the standing stones, my hearth told me to stay, the destiny made us met, to be together has been our choice. My name is Claire Beuchamp Randall and this is my story. My life has never been that simple, I lost my parents. I spent my chilhood in so many different places. I chose a carreer not easy at all, I joined in the army as professional nurse and I married the only man I have ever known. The war took as apart, just one promise kept us alive: ‘Claire Randall come back to me’. He loved me. 5 years was a long time,we survived, we faced so many different experiences. I am not proud of all of them anyway, even now I wonder so many things Frank would not tell me. My guess is the war changed Us, it took a part of Us away, a piece of our lives that would never be back again. We sow terrible things, people died in my arms and I could not just prevent it. Our conscience was carrying an heavy burden, as far as I forced myself to believe, that nothing had changed, I totally knew that anything would have been the same again. Many things would be left in our memory’s oblivion, too painful sharing them. Frank was a sweet and caring man. He had so many interests, sometimes He tried to involve me, his enthusiam was contagious, but He did not succeed that often 😉 He was used to talk and talk I was fascinated and captived by His stories. Even when I was not paying that attention, His words managed to get impressed in my mind. I could have never imagine that, those stories, could save my life perhaps more than once. I was used to live in the present, ignoring the future, thinking there was no tomorrow. I have never called any place Home..untill then..
      I believe everything happens for a reason, there was a part of my hearth that claimed for more, I could not explain,but I felt something was missing. I did not feel completed, satisfied, that feeling was so strong, so pervading,but still i could not complain about my life. When we bump into the Druids, that dance was spellbinding,hypnotic, I could not stop watching them. I was totally captivated, for the first time in years I felt my pains released. It was like they were taking away my burden from me, I felt finally free after a long time. The following day I could not stop thinking about, that feeling was really gone. I needed to go back to that place to prove myself that something has appened, I need to feel that for real again. I believe the Druids opened the door of my future, somehow the standig stones were not just rocks, but a gate towards the place I belonged to. Catalpulted into another age, I tried my best to understand and not judjng things I did not know, that was the hardest part. There was another feeling running across my hearth. It was joy. Although I was torn, between my old life and the new one, I already knew what I want, and when was finally time to go back I just could not, it was not anymore about me, it was about Us. It was not between right and wrong, it was about love. I was upstairs, Jamie was downstairs outside the building, He had to lean to a pole to help himself, pain, suffering and the emotion to see me again were too much for Him. Jamie accept me, fell in love with me, trusted me when anyone else dared. Fearless, brave, stubborn, He proved myself right when anyone else would believe me. Young and fiery, He stole my heart and gained my soul. Frank Loved me, but I loved Jamie. Our hearts and our body, were just one thing. Two parts of the same thing. We knew life was not going to be that easy, but we were willing, to make it works. United we were stronger than apart, not because a contract, but due to love. Only Culloden could set us apart. My Name is Claire Beuchamp Fraiser and this my story.

    62. AvatarMaddclaire21

      I can sum up in one sentence why I love Claire Beauchamp. (Or should I say Fraser now?) Claire saved my life. It’s as simple as that. Or maybe she just helped me save it, I’m not sure, but it happened. Claire came into my life exactly when I needed someone to show me that it was going to be ok, that there was a light at the end of the tunnel, that if you were brave and strong you could get through anything. I found Outlander when I was going through some personal hardships, I fell in love with the story, the characters, the romance, the drama and all that came with, but Claire was different. I had never seen such a strong female character presented so well before. On my worst days I looked at her for guidance and wisdom. She was my liege through the darkness. A constant motto I repeated to myself was that if Claire can survive, so can you. My journey is far from over just like hers, but I have already learnt so much from this amazing character. How to be smart, strong and brave, how to care for others deeply, how to fall in love, how to be loved, how to think ahead. Claire has taught me all these things and so much more, I am forever in debt to her. I could make a 100 dot point essay on the reasons why I love Claire but the most important reason I love her is because she taught me to love myself, be myself and to look after myself.

    63. call_me_sassenachcall_me_sassenach

      Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser
      To Thine Own Self Be True
      Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser
      To Thine Own Self Be True

      I think we’ve all come to this blog with different designs of Claire in our heads- different ways to view and interpret her actions and her words. She is a rich and detailed character, but in a way she is more complete through the eyes in which you yourself view her. I have always been more intrigued by female characters than male characters and I think a huge part of that is that I tend to passionately love women who inspire part of me to try something different, to find something new deep inside of me, or love part of myself a little more.

      Loving a certain character has as much to do with YOU as it does with who that character is, and what is written about them by their author. A deep connection with a character is like a good friendship. When you have a connection with someone who is to become a good friend, the relationship is as much about who you are as it is about who they are. You are both equals in what makes that relationship so special and what you both bring to it. I think it’s the same with anything you deeply relate to, even stories or fictional characters.

      A lot of readers, myself included, love the story of Jamie and Claire, what they mean to each other- their deep love for one another. But what allows both of them to have such an intense connection and love is the fact that both of them are complete people before they meet. Yes, Jamie is young and Claire is technically married, but she has been off in the war for many years on her own, without Frank, and its clear that experience has shaped who she is significantly. When she passes through time she has nothing to rely on but her own wits, just like at the war front, and she does so with tenacity. There is so much to know and learn about Claire as a person and a woman, long before her story becomes tied to Jamie’s. And when she does become tied to Jamie she is no less of a fully developed woman, there is no less to learn about her, her love doesn’t overshadow who she is in the world. Who she is neither hinges on his love nor is it lessened by it.

      Caitriona Balfe, who breathes such incredible life into Claire, always seems to be exceptionally on point with her perspective of who Claire is. Speaking about episode nine, and the make up between Jamie and Claire, she said “when we have the other intense sex scene, I think that’s her saying, ‘look, I will love you with every fiber of my being, but not more than I love myself.”

      A woman like Claire would not be able to love someone else, like Jamie, as fiercely as she does- if she didn’t first and foremost love herself. And that, to me, is what bonded me with Claire. She makes choices and sacrifices for love, but none of those are sacrifices of who she is. She makes no apologies for who she is- even when it gets her in trouble- and she is has compassion for herself and acceptance of herself. It doesn’t make her perfect, but it makes her honest. It doesn’t make her blind to her own flaws, but accepting of them in herself and in others.

      Women today are assaulted with the idea that they should constantly be comparing themselves to the next woman. The feeling like, ‘I’m supposed to be all things’—is a feeling that women have every day and often have their whole lives. I think you are only able to let go of that expectation once you know all the things you are and you also know all the things you are not, but instead of feeling guilt over those things, you love yourself anyway. It’s also when others can come along and be equally accepting of that.

      So- the way Claire knows herself, carries herself, and loves herself is her best quality and the foundation for everything else she is able to be and do. And that is something every person could do more of in this world. True self awareness and compassion take a lot of work, but that is when we are our best selves, capable of great love and joy. And that is what I see in Claire that makes her an incredible character and woman.

    64. AvatarJamie Lynn Hunkins

      I think there are two events in Claire’s life that helped shape her in to the woman we readers love and the woman Jamie comes to love.

      The Day The Bowler Hat Flew Out The Window

      After Claire’s parents died, Uncle Lamb drove her to boarding school (when she was wearing the bowler hat Uncle Lamb did not like). Uncle Lamb was off on one of his archaeological expositions. Claire like a good young, orphaned girl, coming from a middle-class background in 1923, was off to boarding school. That was what was expected, she was only five years old.

      As we know, Claire was miserable about being left behind and she wouldn’t let go of the car handle. She stubbornly did not want to attend boarding school. Well, Uncle Lamb couldn’t leave Claire behind and quickly she was back in the car and he flings the hat out the window.

      On this day, Claire’s life became free. Free from the constraints of an orthodox upbringing in England. It was traveling the world with Uncle Lamb where Claire was educated. Here sense of home was different from the norm. Claire spent her childhood becoming accustomed to fairly primitive conditions. Surrounded by scholars and natives alike this is where Claire was molded into a self-reliant person.

      Life As A Combat Nurse

      As a field combat nurse during WWII, Claire experienced the ravages of war. She watched men die. Claire saw the pain of war injuries – those that heal and those that never heal.

      Claire hadn’t had much time with Frank as a married woman before the war started. Once again her sense of home differed from the norm. Home was an army medical tent where she was surrounded by doctors, other nurses, and the casualties of war. This has a profound effect on a person. Claire’s experiences made her a stronger person, a woman who didn’t like compromise, a woman not easily intimidated. Claire had become a warm, practical, independent woman.

      Passing Through The Stones

      When Claire ends up in 1743, it is her unorthodox upbringing and the strength she gained from being a combat nurse that helps her navigate her way through this strange, patriarchal culture. This is a brutal and raw place. The world around her is completely different from what she is used to and Claire finds a means for survival. She uses her knowledge of plants and nursing skills to help her get by at Leoch. While she is single-minded in her pursuit of returning back to 1946, the prospect of getting back becomes more distant. Claire’s unconventional sense of home eased the situation for her. Her strength, self-reliance, and practicality helped Claire survive.

    65. AvatarCaleidh

      Note to Terry: This was HARD. I’m used to writing “essays” with an academic voice but that didn’t work AT ALL for this one! I’m squeaking in just under the deadline. it’s 8:02 in Dallas :>) Teresa Epperson (twitter; tepperson0101

      I fell in love with Jamie Fraser over twenty years ago when the first Outlander novel was published. He’s a larger than life character: courageous, honorable, ruthless, romantic, intelligent and ahead of his time. He is also flawed as the best heroes are: prideful, stubborn, reckless, and wildly free, or at least he’s wildly free until he meets Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp (Randall). Claire provided the young man with no responsibilities beyond himself the motivation to grow up and make choices about his future. I discovered that it is impossible for me to describe why I love Claire so much unless I start with where her future intersected with an unimaginable past.

      If Jamie is larger than life, so is Claire, his equal as few women could ever be. She, too, is courageous, honorable, ruthless, romantic, intelligent, and ahead of her time. Claire exhibits these characteristics in ways that are uniquely feminine and incomprehensible to the men around her. She is a woman out of time, both her own and the one she is thrust into at Craig na Dun.

      We first meet Claire in the series tending to a mortally wounded soldier, literally holding his guts together and barking orders to others what to do to keep him alive. This scene shows her courage, ruthlessness, and intelligence beyond her training as a nurse. Because the 1940’s were still a time when women were subjugated to men, a male doctor takes over. His expertise without her intervention would likely have been useless. Her decision later in the books to go to medical school to become a surgeon is also emblematic of her courage and character. Even in the 1960’s it was unusual to find a female doctor, much less a female surgeon. She wields a scalpel in the same way that Jamie wields a sword, with precision, care, and impeccable skill.

      Nowhere is Claire’s courage and ruthlessness more on display than in the search for and rescue of Jamie. She refuses to accept anything less than finding him alive and then getting him out of Wentworth prison. She faces down cold and uncertainty, gypsies, English officers, Dougal McKenzie, wolves, and the worst villain ever to grace the pages of a novel with equal willingness to do anything other than give up. When Jamie’s own courage begins to flag she takes herself into the darkest place imaginable – Black Jack Randall’s mind – in order to save him from the horror of what he suffered. Using what she conjured, she mercilessly forces Jamie into his pain in order to purge the poison from his soul. Without that ability to be ruthless in the pursuit of healing, Jamie might have been lost forever. He certainly would have been lost to Claire.

      Claire’s honor shows through in many ways. She intervenes to help a young man in pain from a dislocated shoulder, even though she had just cautioned herself that staying silent was safest. She simply could not stand by when there was something she could do. She assesses the potential in the surgery at Castle Leoch and does her best to treat wounds and illness, even though she is essentially a prisoner. She willingly stands up to the superstitions and faith of the times in order to save a young boy’s life from poisoning, earning her the wrath of a deadly adversary in Father Bain. Her courage helps to cement the charges against her at the witch trial. She is willing to sacrifice herself to be burned as a witch rather than lie and send her friend Geillis to her death alone. When she first returns to her time she tries to get Frank to divorce her, knowing that her love for Jamie would eclipse any feelings she has or had for Frank. She stays in the marriage initially only because he insists he could not abandon a pregnant woman, and later because Frank loves Brianna so much that she is able to overlook his infidelity.

      Her romanticism is balanced by a wide streak of the practical. In the beginning of “Sassenach” she admires and wants to purchase a vase, a fitting metaphor for her life. Claire’s unconventional upbringing, nomadic even by today’s standards, followed by a long and bloody war likely influenced her romantic view of a married home life. That vase represents stability, a home, beauty, and all of the love that goes with those things. She mentions wondering what would have happened if she had purchased that vase, would things have been different. They would have been different indeed. Her choice not to purchase the vase more closely reflects the life that she was meant to live – one in which the container of all she considered stable, beautiful, and home is a man, not a place or a thing.

      Claire’s intelligence gives her an advantage when she finds herself on the other side of time. She is able to assess threats, recognize possible allies, use whatever resources she has at her disposal to do whatever needs to be done, and adapt in order to survive. While many of us would love to find Jamie Fraser, most of us would struggle to survive if thrown two hundred years into the past. Claire makes it look almost easy.

      But just as Jamie is a flawed hero, so is Claire. Flaws can often be strengths that have been taken to excess. While she is courageous she is also reckless, charging into situations without considering the consequences of her actions. It is courageous and honorable not to denounce Geillis, but she would not have been in that situation to begin with if she had not gone immediately to the village on the strength of an unverified note, and if she had considered Jamie’s warnings to stay away. She refuses to listen when Jamie warns her of danger, putting both of their lives at risk multiple times throughout the books.

      Claire is prideful, often unwilling to accept things she cannot change. She confronts Laoghaire over the ill-wish and slaps her, further deepening the young woman’s anger and hatred and creating even more long term consequences. She goes up the Fairy Hill in search of a crying baby without even trying to understand what is happening. As she argues at her witch trial, she was trying to help, but it was in a situation where no one had asked for it.

      While her stubbornness stands her in good stead when she is pursuing an admirable goal such as rescuing her husband, it does notwhen she digs in her heels. In the episode, “The Rent,” she tries to return a goat offered in payment for rent to the mother of a hungry child, leading to an argument that involves a young English Lieutenant. The eventual conclusion of this stubborn action is a meeting with Black Jack Randall, a fist to the belly, and a forced marriage to Jamie Fraser. Oh, maybe that’s not such a good example! The latter might be worth a fist to the belly.

      Claire Fraser is a strong woman but not a perfect one. She is the more interesting for the imperfections. Had she stayed in her own time after World War II, she would have faced the pressure for women to return to their roles in the home to make way for returning soldiers in the workforce. Without the experience of serving with Jamie in the Jacobite army, she may not have had an opportunity to realize her true calling in life as a physician. Her decision to stay in the past gave her a future that included both the love of her life and the work she was designed to do. It is clear in the second book that she was not cut out to be simply a homemaker, or at least not a physical homemaker. She is Jamie’s home as he is hers. No other woman – at least none introduced in our story – could have been the match for Jamie.

    66. Avatarrosemaryhoffart

      Great work everyone… really enjoyed reading these responses to Terry’s call to action! I wish I would have had the time to participate because this looks like fun!

    67. Avatarbookgirl67

      My “twist” on an essay… in short story form .. hope you enjoy! Go Team Claire!

      I ran across the street in an attempt to grab coffee on my way to doing research on a paper I was asked to write and stubbed my toe on the curb. “Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ” I yelled out as the pain shot up my leg, almost reaching my knee. A woman, a bit younger than me, stopped dead in her tracks.
      “OMG! I love Claire… don’t you?” she squealed as she walked on by with a wide grin. As I watched her go, I answered quietly…”yes”.
      I opened the door to the coffee shop and walked to the end of the line. I looked at my watch and saw that I only had ten minutes to get to the Library before the college crowd filed in, jeopardizing my chance at a few of the necessary books I would need for my paper. I looked up the line and saw that the barista was “shooting the breeze” with the customer whose turn it was. “Bloody hell,” I shouted as half the line turned and looked in my direction. I refused to allow my cheeks to color in response and lifted an eyebrow in their direction as explanation of my outburst. A gentleman in his early sixties, half way up the line, turned to me and smiled. “You must be an Outlander fan,” he observed. “My wife is too and I often feel as if I am talking to Claire Fraser instead of her.” The few in line that heard him, giggled in response and my only answer was “Is it that obvious?”
      The woman standing directly in front of him in line turned and smiled at me. “What do you think they are talking about.” She informed, waving her left thumb in the direction of the rude Barista and the “I have all day” customer. I perked up and leaned in to see if I could hear them.
      “I know!” squealed the customer. “Seriously love Rupert and Angus! I hope they write them into the rest of the story instead of killing them off.”
      “Nah… my favorite hands down is Jamie. That man can do no wrong,” offered the Barista with a wiggle to her brow and I found myself instantly charged.
      Storming to the front of the line, I slapped my hand down on the counter. “You meant to say, you love Claire the most. I know you did.” I slowly folded my arms, giving them ample time to adjust their opinions to the correct one.
      “Well I…” started the Barista and I knew I had to plea my case.
      “You meant to say that Claire Elizabeth Beachamp Randall Fraser is the best heroine ever written. That really, without her, there would be no story.
      “Well, ya but…” added the customer. Good thing I was faster at talking then she was.
      “You meant to say that if there was ever a time you needed a person to have your back, it would be Claire; that if you were ever faced with a tough situation, you would find yourself wanting to channel her wisdom and courage.”
      “You mean, pig headedness,” spouted the Barista.
      “That pigheadedness got her out of many situations. Her stubbornness helped her survive.” I retorted, proud of my explanations.
      “It got her into some hot water as well, if I remember right,” giggled the Barista and the customer joined her in a laugh.
      “So what you two are saying is that it was her pigheadedness that gave her the courage to put one foot in front of the other when she realized she had just been dropped two hundred years in the past? That her pigheadedness gave her wisdom to plan an escape and when that was thwarted, she made the best of her situation, never giving up the hope that she would someday return to her own time? Was that the same pigheadedness you two are referring to that gave her the strength when faced with a marriage to a man when she was already married? Was it that pigheadedness that gave her courage to stand up to those highland men who looked at her as if she was either an English spy or witch? Or how about when she finally saw her way back to Frank, regardless of her feelings for Jamie, was it her pigheadedness that told her to take the risk, no matter the cost? If that is what you are saying, then so help me God, but I want to be pigheaded.”
      I gave them several seconds to process this information before continuing my assault.
      “In the face of adversity… I want to channel Claire. In the face of dismay…I want to channel Claire. In the face of conflict…I want to channel Claire.” I wasn’t finished with my verbal spewage of truth, but the line was getting restless.
      “What about her courage when she went to rescue Jamie from Wentworth…?” shouted a customer towards the back of the line.
      “I thought the time she was faced with her true feelings for Jamie and staying with him versus going back through the stones to be with Frank took guts,” yelled out another person sitting at a corner table. I smiled and they raised their mug in cheers.
      “Exactly!” yelled out the man, who had been in front of me in line. “I have seen a change in my wife since she has been reading that Outlander series. I am no longer afraid of sending her places alone, like the car mechanics. It’s like Claire gave her some gumption.”
      “That’s not the only change in my wife that I want to personally thank Claire for,” Snickered a gentleman two people behind me. Suddenly most of the men in the coffee shop were hollering in agreement.
      “Well, ya there’s that,” I started to say and felt my cheeks blush. Before I could recover my speech, the Barista rejoined the conversation.
      “My man didn’t know what hit him. He doesn’t argue when I want to watch the show or read any of the books anymore. He actually asked the other night if I wanted to watch the Wedding episode again,” she laughed.
      “It definitely gave that 50 shades business a run for their money,” shouted a man sitting at one of the tables. “That’s the kind of loving I want from my lady. Empowerment in a woman is hot!’ he added, gaining even more approval by the men in the crowd.
      “Yes, there’s that…” I stated, once again trying to take back the conversation.
      “What about how she helped Jamie recover after what that bastard Black Jack had done to him? That took guts and real love. Many would have given up, but not our Claire!”
      I smiled at the woman to the right of me’s statement. My goal was not to take away from Jamie, but to uncover the sheer beauty of Claire. Her strength and weaknesses, her intelligence, her perseverance, her gumption and in turn it showed me how much of her was in me.
      “Well, now that we can all agree our Claire is truly bad ass, how about that coffee?” As I said the last words, the entire line turned and looked at the barista and the customer who had started the epic conversation to begin with. Both women blushed and the customer stepped to the side. Just as the Barista went to take the next person’s order in line, a man stepped out from the swinging door, just to the left of the end of the counter. He was obviously the owner. Smiling from ear to ear, he approached the crowd with a smile, picked up a coffee that was sitting on the back counter, raising it in the air.
      “Here’s to Team Claire! Slainte Mhath!” and he turned and shot me a wink.
      Moments later, as I walked to the library, coffee in hand, I found myself not worried anymore whether or not my books would be available. I knew I had Claire with me and together, we would see the day complete.

      1. call_me_sassenachcall_me_sassenach

        Hey just a note terry also noted in bold: ***One additional note, as much as fun as it is to read, I have to respect Diana’s request about fan fic, or at least what I think her request is about it. Please only essays written in 21st century voice. Sorry***

    68. AvatarDebbie Dake

      Dear Terry ~

      You are absolutely mad! Wonderfully, generously, beautifully mad.

      Your fans are grateful for your talents and for your heart.

      With love, I thank you ~ Debbie

    69. Pingback: A Serendipitous Spark of Optimism | Thoughts on my Journey

    70. Avatarfleetinglogic

      Terry – I didn’t get an email with your note about your generous solution (!), so am just reading it now on your site. Especially ‘buried deep’ in mid-season, I can’t fathom how you have time to keep up this blog (but am so grateful you do!), much less coordinate efforts for all these writers. Frankly if it took 5 years and I had to pay for it plus postage, I’d be thrilled to get a t-shirt that reflects even a wee bit of your creativity! Or mug! (Though t-shirts seem a lot easier/cheaper to mail than mugs–lighter & unbreakable, esp if mailing overseas!) Let me know if you need a volunteer to coordinate the effort! Thanks much for this blog and your creativity and insights, consistently reflected in such amazing costumes and commentary.

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