Words and Their Effects
Words, they can greatly affect how we think, how we feel, how we react to an event. Twenty six letters make up approximately 171,000 words found in the Oxford English Dictionary. And depending how these words are conceived and in which order, they can greatly affect those who read them or hear them. They can rise us up or bind us; anger us or fill us with love. And whether we read them or hear them, they can create a visceral reaction to them.
Claire Randall, the ultimate early feminist, the free spirit who grew up traveling the world with an archaeologist uncle, a woman who could swear with the best of them, a woman not tied to the conventional societal norms, who could think her way out of a problem, and defend herself in a world, so different from her own.
She survived World War II as a nurse, having watched many of soldiers parish. She understood pains and sadness. But she was resilient, she was strong. The Outlander series is about her and her split life, the one she lives in the present, the one that shakes her up in the past.
Soon after the conclusion of the war, a tired and battered Claire is reunited with her husband, her love. And as they return to each other, get to know each other again, Claire is yanked from her life and as it happened, she was sucked through a time warp, landing in 1743.
Claire the Survivor
She’s a survivor of a brutal war and yet it almost doesn’t protect her from nearly being raped, or beaten, or kidnapped by a clan of Scotsman. As she gains focus and learns where she is and when she is, she is forced to work as a healer for the clan leader and his family.
Claire is tough, thoughtful and resourceful. I grow to love her character, her strength, her unwillingness to give up on her dream of returning home to her husband, to her own time.
But she fell in love. And I’ve got to admit, Jamie Frasier is by far the most beautiful man I’ve ever seen. And as Claire falls deeper in love with Jamie, as her confidence and strength grows, she learns to survive and thrive in this environment so different than what she once knew.
I grew Incensed
This brilliant, beautiful woman who endured so much, living in a past without the comforts of the 20th century goes home. Separated from her love and pregnant with what she assumed was her soon dead husband, she returns to her own time, 1948 England. Her first husband takes her back and together they agree to raise the baby as theirs.
Claire, after all she had been through finds the provincial life difficult to bear, she wants so much more for herself. She misses Jamie, can barely live with her husband. But she forever will be who she is, the opinionated, mouthy, brilliant and beautiful Claire. Where Jamie loved her for it, her husband Frank was not as impressed. He wanted her softer, quieter. Claire resisted, even in public, even when conversing with the head of the History Department.
As they conversed of President Truman, she interjected with what she had read and agreed with in the Boston Globe. He laughed at her. She spoke again, he shot her ideas down referring to her and her position as wife and soon to be mother as more appropriate than a well-educated and thoughtful woman.
Words Too Many
I listened to him belittle and demean her and for the sake of Frank’s career she backed down. It was that incident, that made her fighting mad, and she fought back so to speak.
I grew angry at the scene, groaned and yelled at the television. And though I do realize it was 1948, and this most like was the reality for women all over, I burned. And then I cheered, because I knew what was to come, I after all did read the book. Claire enrolled in medical school after her daughter was born.
It wasn’t always easy for her or the only black classmate. Whispers and sneered followed them and yet they persevered. I was proud that they took that initial first step and stood up for themselves and their dreams regardless of what society had to say about it.
Words Can Heal
Claire inspired, she fought back, she created a life for herself that challenged and garnered respect. But the treatment she received from men left me stinging. I too want more for myself and find that when I write, when I attempt to accomplish a dream, I am far more confident and happy. When the 26 letters of the English language are put in a certain order to create words and those words are joined in a way, they can inspire, just as much as they can take down an army. Claire’s battle felt like my battle and it inspired me to continue forward regardless of who underestimates my abilities. I know what I am and what I am capable of. May we all have the opportunity to hear and read those words that create love and kindness and may they inspire us.