Consent between Claire and Jamie
By Fany Alice
Illustration: Gratianne Garcia
Consent in the Outlander saga is defined by shaking up the notions that were largely frozen in the 18th century, namely the relationship to sex, marital discipline and infidelity.
It is primarily in the intimate sphere that he focuses criticism, so much is he expected in a repeated manner, through unequivocal verbalization. Now we have seen (Part I) that it is widely at work in novels and is part of a rhetoric of reciprocal desire between Claire and Jamie who discover each other to learn to give each other pure, intense pleasure, free from censorship and in total disinhibition.
Silent consent is just as essential as verbal consent, if not more so, it is a rare requirement because it is part of the ability to give, receive and interpret sensory or cultural signals. Above all, he avoids the modern temptation not to share much when sharing a bed, a temptation that makes people fear non-consent during the sexual act when listening to the sensual and mental universe of the other is absent. , fragile or too superficial to truly respect his partner.
Thus, in the intimate sphere, silent consent is a language of the senses which summons a multiplicity of sensory receptors, sight, hearing, smell, touch and even taste, which stir, intersect and intersect. mix to promote letting go, intensify physical sensations, stimulate sexual ardor. It underpins verbal consent, precedes it, supplements it and accompanies it on a daily basis. It nourishes the envy of the other, allowing the bodies to recognize themselves immediately so that the infinite field of all the possible opens to them, without needing words.
In the public sphere, this silent consent does not happen spontaneously and even becomes the issue of a bitter struggle between Claire and Jamie. He calls for an emotional posture and mental flexibility, a real daily challenge, in the desire to open up to the singularity of the other, to understand his cultural universe to make him a place alongside his, in a search for compromise. which is not a compromise or a denial of oneself but a recognition of the other as the equal of oneself. We are at the heart of the dialectic which consists of possessing each other without dispossessing oneself, of putting oneself in the place of the other while remaining oneself, of finding the path that allows each one to flourish by obtaining what he expects from the other without anyone ever being harmed, defeated or coerced.
Many couples from Clare's century erode themselves on the altar of reality when the world of one and the world of the other clash to the point of making it unattainable to build or maintain a bridge, junction between you and me to give meaning to "we". Conversely, the eighteenth century eliminates this question by organizing the couple in a vertical mode where the ascendancy of one is imposed on the other, which offers a certain stability but limits the potential to become better by learning. the other. By placing mutual well-being at the heart of their relationship, the consent between Claire and Jamie allows for personal growth which in turn gives each one the strength necessary to always be there for each other¸ in a virtuous spiral.
Thus, the conjugal violence exerted by Jamie on Claire is the fatal moment when the dynamic of non-consent based on the obedience / discipline diptych cracks to give way to this new balance born of listening, respect and exchange. If Claire appears to be the immediate beneficiary of this redistribution of roles, protected but free to be herself, without disciplinary fear, Jamie is nonetheless grown up, authorized to share her expectations and to unload her torments on the shoulders of her. 'a secure woman who can then give herself entirely, loving, caring, faithful, without making him a weak man.
Claire wants to be protected but not coerced, let alone disciplined. Jamie wants to be helped but not to make pity, much less to be devirilized: thus, silent consent coils in the public sphere, pledge of their mutual development.
Before analyzing how silent consent is gradually and painfully constructed in the public sphere, let us first see how it is articulated in the private sphere.
Sight, hearing, smell, touch and even taste when one nibbles the skin of the loved one: D. Gabaldon plunges the reader into a real sensory bath. All the senses are called upon.
Throughout the novels, the attraction between Claire and Jamie is fueled by the reassuring and familiar scents that become motivating sexual cues. Jamie has that musky smell of flax and manure characteristic of the warrior living in the great outdoors with that light masculine perspiration that becomes a real aphrodisiac for Claire.
They seek to create an extraordinary sensory agreement, favoring this animal attraction which often characterizes them where the smell, associated with the hairiness and the touch, allows Jamie to appropriate Claire like a beast marking his territory: “He rubbed his cheek against the inside of one thigh, a fierce young beard grating tender skin. (…). He grated the other side, causing me to kick and squirm wildly to get away, to no avail. That's what you should have done with me, Sassenach. You should have rubbed my face between your legs first ”(Chapter 17, T1 Thistle and Tartan). In this scene of exploration and discovery, we understand that it takes time to discover the body of the other, to learn to give him pleasure and to receive it,
In chapter 11 of volume 2, The talisman, we are entitled to this funny scene where Jamie takes offense at the depilatory procedures and fragrant creams used by Claire to copy the Parisians of high society. “It smells a lot less,” I suggested. And what's wrong with your scent? he said vehemently. At least you smelled like a woman, not a damn flower garden. What do you think I am, a man or a bumblebee? Would you like to wash yourself, Sassenach, so that I can come within three meters of you? ". The sense of smell makes it possible to appropriate the body of the other, to keep it in oneself and to increase the sexual desire, all things which will maintain the memory during the forced separation of twenty years.
Olfaction is one of the most explicit sexual cues in a chapter of Volume Five where Claire¸ in the throes of hormonal nighttime hot flashes¸ finds herself on Fraser's Ridge window sill exploring their respective scents with Jamie. thus nourishing their erotic imagination (Chapter 109¸ T5 The Cross of Fire).
Likewise, taste is often associated with the fantasy of absorption in a call for maternal fusion to prolong the uniqueness of bodies: “My breasts hurt and sometimes tingled under the tight ties of my dresses, wanting to be breastfed. Her lips closed gently over one nipple, and I moaned myself, arching myself slightly to encourage him to take it deeper into the warmth of her mouth. Will you let me do this later? he whispered with a soft bite. When the baby comes and your breasts fill with milk? Will you feed me too, then, beside your heart? (…). Always, I whispered ”(Chapter 13, T2 The Talisman).
The noises emitted also have an erotic potential. Claire expresses all her femininity and her consent¸ between squeak¸ moan¸ gasp breath or cry. She vocalizes her satisfaction from the wedding night in front of Jamie surprised but quickly delighted to see the power of her body on the enjoyment of his partner: "I arched against him and I cried. He immediately stepped back (…). I'm sorry he said, I didn't mean to hurt you. You didn't. (…) Does that happen every time? he asked me fascinated, once I had enlightened him. (…). Not every time I say amused. Only if the man is a good lover ”(Chapter 15, T1 The thistle and the tartan).
A. Malcom of Edinburgh in 1766: they get along before seeing each other.
The sight takes on a special dimension when Claire is no longer in the insolent beauty of her 27 years but is approaching fifty and returns to find Jamie. Admittedly, she is reassured beforehand with the masculine gaze of her colleague and friend Joe Abernathy but an intimidating modesty suddenly invades her while Jamie remains silent while contemplating her naked during their reunion, especially since he seems hardly affected by age. It is finally singular to note that the hair graying, without make-up and dressed in the clothes of the XVIIIth century less becoming than those, short and adjusted, of the Bostonian bourgeoisie, Claire appears younger and without any loss of desirability alongside Jamie than during of his years with Frank. Jamie's look at Claire, and vice versa,
Among all the senses, touch is undoubtedly the reference transmission channel for their emotions, the one that most intensely creates this space of intimacy which not only establishes connection but establishes consent in reciprocity. It is at work from the first moments, as Jamie reminds us in the second volume: “You never shied away from my touch, he said (…). Not even at the beginning, when you could have done it (…). You gave me everything from the first time; you have withheld nothing, refused me nothing from you ”(Chapter 29)
Touch is omnipresent under the pen of D. Gabaldon, first professional and sanitized, it is Claire's gesture to treat. It is as instantaneous as the sight when Claire¸, newly arrived in 1743¸ grabs Jamie's dislocated shoulder to mend it; then¸ he is constrained by the Scottish harshness of two full days of riding to protect himself from the cold¸ rain and hunger by curling up in the promiscuity of a damp tartan. And it already creates an erotic tension between Claire and Jamie which is confirmed as she mourns Frank on her knees (in her arms in the series) on the dawn of their arrival at Leoch Castle (chapter 2, T1 The thistle and tartan).
It becomes a real silent language between them once they are married. It is sometimes the prelude to something more intense, like an invitation to go further, or it is just self-sufficient, the most immediate way to read the emotional state of the other: “I put a light hand on his chest, not to invite him, but only because I wanted to feel him. I knew this need to touch, to touch only to be reassured that the other was really there, present in flesh and blood »thinks Claire waiting for comfort (Chapter 20¸ T6 Snow and ashes); or both sexual and medical it can be brought back to life as Jamie dies after being bitten by a snake. Whatever the intention - they tremble at the slightest touch, in this alchemy of body temperature, the cold for her, the heat for him, seeking the appeasement of the flesh. They hold their respective bodies captive, pushed by force. The body of one is hungry for the body of the other and locked together, they seem to be in tune.
Touch repairs, connects or invites. Jamie is the first to express with touching simplicity what is triggered in him by contact with Claire, that mixture of haunting greed and sweet fullness that so suddenly makes his wife irreplaceable: "Even when I have just left you, I want you. so much that my chest tightens and my fingers hurt from trying to touch you again ”(Chapter 17, T1 Thistle and Tartan). Invariably, twenty years later, nothing will have changed: "I could not look at you, Sassenach, and keep my hands away from you, nor have you near me, and not want you" (Chapter 26, T3 , The trip).
Touch is not only essential but it is unprecedented in the sensations provided. While Jamie explains to Claire that he has kissed girls before, he cannot ignore that nothing compares to how he feels when touching her: “It starts the same way, but after a while. (…) It's as if I had a living flame in my arms. And I just want to jump in and be consumed. Jamie listens to Claire's body, even in her menstrual cycle, he guesses each time when she is pregnant, Faith (Chapter 41, T1 The thistle and the tartan) and Brianna (Chapter 46, T2 The talisman).
Claire is equally struck by the intensity of his touch: "I thought I was telling her that her own touch burned my skin and filled my veins with fire" (Chapter 17, T1 Thistle and Tartan). But at the beginning of their relationship, she is less open, frightened by what she already perceives in herself as not being a simple infatuation for this body with perfect lines and such assertive sensuality.
The nurse's impersonal touch thus turns into a woman's desire for this reassuring presence, this firm and comfortable embrace. She is irresistibly drawn to that straight and slender figure, the warm curve of her shoulder, the wide slope of her back, the branched veins, the line of her ribs or the comfort of her chest¸ forging the perfect harmony of their respective bodies. . Nestled in the curve of her body, she burns before his dreamy smile, her intense and narrowed eyes, her high cheeks, her wide and soft mouth. Reassured by the solid weight of her body, her chin propped up in the hollow of her chest, she hopes her hands on the curves of her hips while she lets a hand run under her kilt in a succession of silent requests. She likes to feel him smooth, hard and greedy against her,
When Jamie and Claire have conquered the secret of mutual possession¸ after the emblematic sexual act of reconciliation in the first volume¸ touch is the symbol of the carnal fusion that they constantly seek to relive in an illusion of invulnerability: " He wanted to cover her with his body, to possess her, because if he could, he could tell himself that she was safe. By covering her like this, united in one body, he could protect her. Or that's how he felt, even though he knew it was crazy ”(Chapter 17¸ T5 The Cross of Fire).
D. Gabaldon endlessly describes this irrepressible call of the bodies, each scene is part of the continuity of the previous one while mischievously leaving there the saucy imprint of novelty, to tell us a little more when we thought we already knew everything. His stories are so vivid that you think you can hear the heart rate accelerating and the pulsations released in the body.
It is hardly surprising then that touch is summoned as much to bind them as to untie them, when anger establishes a momentary distance. "Don't touch me" says Jamie angrily after Claire's request to spare Randall to save Frank (Chapter 21, T2 The Talisman). "Don't touch me" Claire replies as an echo when she discovers the marriage with Laoghaire (Chapter 35, T3 the journey). They go a month without touching each other when a lie settles between them about Stephen Bonnet and the gold ring Brianna retrieved (Chapter 53, T4 The Drums of Autumn). And what about that moment when Jamie asleep confuses Claire and Laoghaire and imposes a touch that revolts her: "Nothing else could explain the way he touched me, with a feeling of painful impatience tinged with anger; he had never touched me like that in his whole life ”(Chapter 101¸ T5 the cross of fire).
Touch is the link that engages or disengages but also the memory that consumes when the loved one is no longer there. It is necessary that the flesh memorizes it by a cut in the shape of J and C left on the thumb of the other at the time of the separation, so that the body shelters the last vestige of the loved one. It is quite naturally in front of the stones, before Claire's departure, that all the senses which have contributed so well to nourishing consent are assigned as a glorious but tragic epilogue of this ending happiness: touch, noises, smells¸ sight¸ taste … Not one is missing… “Each contact (…) must be savored, remembered, cherished like a talisman against a future empty of him. I touched every soft hollow, the hidden places of his body. Felt the grace and strength of each bent bone, the wonder of its firm muscles (…). Tasted the salty sweat in the crook of her throat, felt the warm musk of the hair between her legs, the sweetness of the mouth soft and wide, tasting lightly of dried apple and the bitter spiciness of juniper berries. You are so beautiful, my love, he whispered to me, touching the glide between my legs, the tender skin on the inside of my thighs. (…). It was hard in my hand, so stiff with envy that my touch made him moan with a need bordering on pain. (…). He abandoned himself to me, and I to him, despair approaching passion, so that the echo of our cries seemed to slowly die out (…) ”(chapter 46, T2 The talisman). tasting lightly of dried apple and the bitter spiciness of juniper berries. You are so beautiful, my love, he whispered to me, touching the glide between my legs, the tender skin on the inside of my thighs. (…). It was hard in my hand, so stiff with envy that my touch made him moan with a need bordering on pain. (…). He abandoned himself to me, and I to him, despair approaching passion, so that the echo of our cries seemed to be slowly fading (…) ”(chapter 46, T2 The talisman). tasting lightly of dried apple and the bitter spiciness of juniper berries. You are so beautiful, my love, he whispered to me, touching the glide between my legs, the tender skin on the inside of my thighs. (…). It was hard in my hand, so stiff with envy that my touch made him moan with a need bordering on pain. (…). He abandoned himself to me, and I to him, despair approaching passion, so that the echo of our cries seemed to be slowly fading (…) ”(chapter 46, T2 The talisman).
Touch just as easily reestablishes the connection in the Edinburgh printing press, reweaving the broken link in front of the stones twenty years earlier: “When I needed you, I always saw you, smiling, with your hair curled around. your face. But you never spoke. And you never touched me. I can touch you now ”(Chapter 26, T3 The Journey). Touch is once again that precious sesame of tacit permissions. We remember, we restore habits, we relearn the body language that was once so familiar: "When we were afraid of each other before," I whispered, on our wedding night, you held me. hands. You said it would be easier if we touched each other ”(Chapter 26, T3 The Journey).
During their reunion, Claire reconnects with the youthful excitement of her first emotions in front of this naked body which “took [him] out of breath. He was still tall, of course, and beautifully made, the long bones of his body smooth in muscle, sleek in strength. He was shining by candlelight, as if the light was coming from him ”(Chapter 26, T3, the journey). She is feverish over that prickly manhood that makes Jamie's body as accessible as hers, as if its weird shapes and curves are a sudden extension of her own limbs. They rediscover their respective bodies¸ marvel at their curves¸ decode their jolts and pulsations¸ aware of the other's breathing¸ sensitive to the slightest thrill ... "It's so good to have the body of
Verbal consent expressed during the sexual act, as we have seen in Part I, is invariably nourished by this free expression of small noises, smells, touch which stimulates the drive side of sexuality and promotes physical rapprochement. : "We made love by tacit consent, each wanting the refuge and comfort of the flesh of the other" (Chapter 25¸ T5 The Cross of Fire). It is just as explicit as verbal consent to increase arousal during sex. Even more, the writing of D. Gabaldon shows to what extent the body language is a precise revealer of the state of mind of the two partners finally reducing the verbal consent to an almost banal obviousness since one has taken so much care. to be attentive to the body of the other.
Paradoxically, the issue of consent has crystallized in the intimate sphere, where sexuality is nevertheless constantly enamored of reciprocity, underestimating the public sphere which is the only space where the imposed standards fall very quickly and violently, leaving little room for free expression.
Forced by the customs of the time and painfully affected by the events of the rescue at Fort William, Jamie is summoned to base his authority as a husband on an unruly wife with an overly assertive character. In the 18th century, the woman was not considered to have an opinion, she was educated discreet and withdrawn to learn to obey her husband. The man decides alone, without suffering to be challenged, not being able to trust the women considered too unstable and weak, drawing limits with his subordinates, wife, children, farmers, colonists, soldiers…, assuming his responsibilities within 'a harsh society that never fails to remind him of them
In the public sphere¸ the consent between Claire and Jamie blows up the dikes that freeze roles, demands sharing, abolishes subordination and allows everyone to taste a freedom that was not self-evident: for Claire, to be her- even, for Jamie, to be helped. How does it all come together from their heated arguments following the rescue of Fort William?
It is Claire who suffers brutally from non-consent when the punitive hand of a Jamie with the "austere face of fear at the window of Randall's room, twisted with rage by the side of the road, strained with pain falls on her. facing my insults ”(chapter 22, T1 Thistle and tartan). Fear, rage, pain: formidable alchemy of three explosive feelings leading to excessive violence ("I rarely lose my temper, Sassenach, and I generally regret it when I do") and sadistic ("As for my pleasure (... ). I said I should punish you. I didn't say I wasn't going to take advantage of it ") .
Priority established consent is therefore that which abolishes all domestic violence. Jamie consents, not out of rejection of this practice of his time lived by women and children as the natural order of things, but because he discovers that Claire comes out traumatized and that he cares above all for his own good- to be. He thinks that the punishment was deserved but no longer wants to risk hurting it: in consent¸ we prefer to love the other rather than to be right.
He also knows that the sexual ardor that Claire projects in their antics and which fills him in return cannot be maintained as long as the threat of future blows weighs on her. 18th century or not¸ the rules governing men and women cannot apply to Claire. Jamie knows this and loves him enough to live up to his expectations. He understands that she needs to be secure in all respects¸ in the rejection of all violence but also in the claim of feelings¸ so that she
can trust him completely: the covenant and the promise of fidelity complete the oath and all three symbolize the newly established consent.
Claire is strong, she can recover from infinitely worse violence inflicted by the outside world, except that Jamie is already no longer "the outside world". Hence this particular emotional turn for Claire¸ between what she is ready to offer their couple and what she sees of Jamie's ability to evolve¸ as they journey for two days to Leoch Castle in the day after the domestic violence scene (Chapter 22¸ T1 Thistle and tartan).
As for Jamie¸ he observes Claire and decodes key points of her personality that will transform a relationship frozen on the expectations of an era into a consented relationship¸ feeding on her laconic and parsimonious responses to better understand her and accept her point of view. seen.
Unpublished fact¸ the one who does not fear men feared Jamie, distrusting him three times, in chapter 22 (T1 The thistle and the tartan), at the start of their ride ("He did not look particularly brutal in the light of the rising of the half moon ”), then when he claims his dagger for the swearing in (“ Give it to me. As I hesitated, he said impatiently: I will not use it. against you. Give it to me! ”) and finally, in chapter 23, in their room in Leoch's castle (“ He stood up and put his hands on the buckle of his belt. I jumped involuntarily when he did. did, and he saw it. (…). No, he said dryly, I don't intend to beat you. I gave you my word. "
Essential fact¸ Claire is in the emotional state of people on the lookout for the slightest kindness that can restore lost landmarks. She comes to let go of a pathetic "I like you!" »To the man who beat her the day before, when he confesses to her that making love first required a divine sacrament. Admittedly, the confession is moving¸ in Jamie's mind of absolute¸ but Claire's enchanted, almost childish reaction calls out at this tragic moment in their history. Jamie, like the reader, is stunned, agrees with Murtagh who thinks women are incomprehensible: insulted, scratched, shoved while rescuing Fort William but suddenly loved after "I beat you to death and (...) said all the most humiliating things [that] had happened to me. "
But, unlike his contemporaries, Jamie will not only seek to understand but achieve it successfully.
He understands that Claire is fine when she is high-spirited and asserts her point of view without being asked anything, when she swears, storms, invests with passion, eager for the slightest feeling. However, at this moment, it is incoherent, extinct, lost, oscillating between moments of depression or bliss and hysterical laughter. She is in a passive submission to events which does not resemble her, suffering in her flesh and in her heart in the face of this "tender lover" but "perfidious husband." "
What Jamie likes about Claire is her whole character and her confidence. He praises her courage¸ appreciating that she challenges him ("I was angry and you fought me fiercely") and her compelling commitment to what she believes is right¸ admires her resilience, respects her convictions, cherishes her daring .
Confirmation is made in subsequent volumes that Jamie is not mistaken about the flame that keeps Claire blooming and is now extinguished.
Thus, in the second volume, distraught by the attitude of his pregnant wife struggling with nausea and discomfort, he gets carried away to blame himself immediately, suggesting that she send her out for a walk. With an undecodable contemporary humor for Jamie, she then launches him: “Go straight to hell. Do not go through square one. Don't collect the two hundred dollars. The. You feel better now ? ". And Jamie nods because “when you start talking nonsense, I know you're okay” (Chapter 11, T2, The Talisman). Likewise, when Jamie is authoritarian to help him expel the alliance stuck in his throat after the attack on Stephen Bonnet¸ Claire gets annoyed and he is quickly reassured about his state of health: "If you feel enough well to insult me, Sassenach, it is that you are well ”(Chapter 9¸ T4 The drums of autumn).
As long as Claire screams and revolts, Jamie can therefore retain the idea that she is invested in the emotional struggle of their relationship. But the silence that Claire repeatedly settles as they walk towards Leoch's Castle is unusual, forcing Jamie to break it each time. It marks a break in the relational complicity, she is neither with him, nor without him. Silence is abandonment, it is an escape that creates a dangerous distance.
A first half hour of silent walking is thus broken by Jamie's account of his own punitive humiliations; the second silence is broken on the painful memory of the martyr who gnawed at him since he was 19 years old and Claire's forgiveness; the third is suspended by the request to share his bed again: he then restores his scorned dignity by letting her decide and set her conditions, which she does, and which he solemnly accepts by taking an oath, thus validating his point of view (Chapter 22, T1 The thistle and the tartan).
Keep in mind that Jamie realizes that Claire is hurt by the corporal punishment before knowing that she has other manners from another era¸ and that she only ran away to find a husband. . Once the revelation is made, regret is added to consent. In retrospect¸ the gesture of the oath is therefore even greater when only the well-being of Claire¸ apart from all other knowledge¸ is the only motivation. Taking her to meet the stones of Craig Na Dun to allow her to return home completes the redemption of Jamie's fault in a total abnegation which becomes the most complete expression of consent.
 The French translation makes a misunderstanding by writing “I said I should punish you. I didn't say I was going to take advantage of it ”. However, the original sentence is: “I said I would have to punish you. I dit not say I wasna going to enjoy it "," wasna "being the contraction of" was not "as" dinna "(" I dinna ken ") is that of" didn't ". As for the interpretation of Jamie's "sadism" with the erection he must have had, some think he had fun pounding her, others that he was turned on by her bare butt, the writing novels is regularly focused on this advantageous anatomical area of Claire and maddening for Jamie. The second point of view seems more correct¸ especially since he admits to having hated to hurt him but not being able to help himself elsewhere.
Therefore, Jamie's consent has an impact that goes far beyond the ban on domestic violence. He sanctuaries Claire's personality, softens her choices and her way of being, protects her mental and cultural universe. He embraces her fierce and independent character and allows her to fulfill herself, in a freedom of action allowing her to have an identity other than that of her husband, to explore a rich personal life, sexual but also professional. and social. By agreeing to free her from obedience and its corollary, discipline, it offers her the opportunity to assert herself without fear and to flourish in the long term.
To agree to respect and defend the mental universe of the one you love is not obvious to any man, of any time. How many women, even today, censor themselves, erase themselves or deny themselves, seek to please rather than to please themselves, for fear of losing a spouse who is supposed to be incapable of accepting or evolving? Jamie offers Claire the most valuable of possessions, that of being herself. Roger was not mistaken about his worth: "I don't know who you were, mate, he whispered to the invisible Scotsman, but you had to be something to deserve it" (Chapter 13, T3 The trip).
As consent is a dynamic that benefits both, in the private sphere as well as in the public sphere, it can be said that by raising her, Jamie rises with her, allowing her in return to benefit from a "rare woman." Who, nourished by Jamie's unconditional support, is strong enough to help him become who he is.
Before we look at what Jamie is making from this new voluntary deal, let's take a look at the impact on Claire's life for a moment.
The moment when Jamie doubts the mental and cultural universe of Claire begins with the oath but the official confirmation shows especially when he declaims a thunderous "I believe you" ... "your heart" ... "your words" ... after the witch trial , when she admits to coming from the future (chapter 25, T1 Thistle and tartan). Back in his time¸ in 1948¸ Frank is immediately doubtful about his story and sends him to see a psychiatrist. Conversely¸ Claire's gaze, beautifully captured by the camera in the series at this precise moment when Jamie shows her confidence in her, reveals the inner upheaval that this promise awakens in a woman too accustomed until then to think of herself alone and independent without hope of being understood.
And¸ indeed¸ more than saving her physically¸ Jamie morally defends what she is in the face of the outside world¸ proudly portraying her as a brave woman and a remarkable healer because "he had long passed the point of remitting in question everything she did in the direction of healing, whether it be of the heart or of the body ”(Chapter 23¸ T4 The Drums of Autumn). He boasts of his healing abilities at a time when this faculty is the prerogative of men - women can only use witchcraft. He shows an endlessly renewed curiosity¸ attentive to his talents and thoughts¸ inspired by his moral code¸ scrupulously respecting for twenty years of separation the nutritional habits of plant care or disinfection learned from she.
This relationship renegotiated by consent on the rubble of domestic violence also results in the intimate transformation of Claire who progresses on the path of knowledge and self-acceptance: with Jamie, protection is no longer an admission of weakness.
The acting shows a clear evolution between the first season and the following ones. From the start, we sense in Claire's attitude that independence, mastery, even inaccessibility protects her from the loss of self-esteem and of others. She locks herself in a thought pattern of refusing all hindrance and not depending on anyone. She cannot obey because she does not want to appear weak: a legacy of her personal history, reinforced by an era, the Second World War, when you had to be strong and invulnerable to survive ... We know Claire's wandering youth, the parental void, the nomadic life with an uncle who undoubtedly nourished his mind more than securing his heart.
“I suddenly realized why he was seeing so clearly what Frank had never seen at all,” she admits (Chapter 28, T3 The Journey). By comparing Claire to a "sharp and wicked" knife, but "not without a heart", Jamie strikes the right note. He knows that Claire is too exceptional, too competent, too courageous, too beautiful a woman not to attract strong enmities from men sent back through her to their own mediocrity¸ forcing her to harden herself in order to protect herself. . Jamie's love offers her for the first time the opportunity to let her guard down and trust, to accept not to be in control, to be guided by a protective and caring man who sincerely cherishes who she is. . Unlike Frank who loves her but doesn't understand her.
She can take emotional risks, accept her fears and her lacks, which Jamie accepts without compromising her fierce independence. “I felt both horribly vulnerable and completely safe. But I had always felt that with Jamie Fraser ”she can finally admit (Chapter 9¸ T4 The Drums of Autumn): his weaknesses are no longer a threatening burden on his morale, his self-esteem or his freedom, Jamie does not using them not to demean or dominate her but to reassure her, to give her confidence and to make her stronger, nor does he feel himself in return diminished by the exceptionality of his wife.
Intelligent, moral and loyal, Jamie has indeed the qualities required to rush through the wounds of abandonment or betrayal of Claire and provide her with the emotional security she needs but is afraid to accept. Because Jamie saw from the beginning of their story the rift that forges a shell between Claire and the outside world but, an inexperienced young husband and himself hurt by the events of Fort William, he had clumsily believed that violence and submission would correct the situation. "You are used to thinking for yourself (...) you are not used to letting a man tell you what to do" he had told her before punishing her with his belt (Chapter 22, T1, The thistle and tartan). D. Gabaldon writes it to us: she was afraid to be left alone in this grove where he ordered her to hide but she was even more afraid to admit it. At this point in their history, if Jamie's vulnerability attracts him, hers scares him; and if he is authoritarian¸ she is bound to be rebellious.
It is by the oath, the alliance and the fidelity that he attaches himself durably to Claire, and not by constraint, by this fusion of bodies and souls which makes her free to love and trust him. , with all her being, and to be loved in return with an honesty that matches hers. Claire is able to receive Jamie's protection because her hold on her is just as strong as the hold she has on him, one is no longer behind the other, they are interdependent in each other. the need. We thus leave the verticality of one-sided obedience to tend towards an egalitarian back and forth where¸ in turn¸ one relies on the other in the recognition of each other's strength: here¸ it is Claire who consents to be protected; there it is Jamie who agrees to be helped.
Gradually¸ the books as the television seasons reveal a more serene woman who admits to being afraid¸ cries¸ claims the affection of Jamie in a spontaneity imbued with fragility and tenderness and relies on him to ensure their survival in an era that 'he knows well and for which he is physically and mentally better armed. She listens to him¸ not out of submission but out of love¸ even in this extreme decision to return to Frank at the dawn of the Battle of Culloden¸ because she knows that "without the courage and intransigence of Jamie," the worst would have happened to her and Brianna (Chapter 1¸ T4 The Drums of Autumn).
From these moments of reconciliation¸ Claire can no longer be without him¸ he cannot be more without her¸ as the mutual possession they set up has become their secure home far from all material contingencies (the term "home" / “You are my home”… is recurrent in novels): “That's why I'm so scared. I don't want to be half a person again, I can't stand it ”she can finally admit without embarrassment (Chapter 16¸ T4 The Drums of Autumn).
By coming to terms with his weaknesses, Claire learns to trust and rely on him. She loves Jamie all the more because he knows how to look for her in her needs, her hopes or her expectations which she does not always dare to talk about and which remain silent inside her. He understands his desire to be useful¸ at the Hospital of Angels¸ soothes his doubts that he is not up to the task of healing¸ repairing¸ healing. He supports and encourages her¸ embraces with her his Hippocratic Oath and respect for life¸ shares his fight for penicillin as well as his medical experiences in autopsy. She can uncover herself because she expects Jamie's actions to always be predictable - that is, reassuring. It is the absence of the other for twenty years that makes her aware of the emotional turn that Jamie has made in her life and that she wants to relive: “I had only been myself with him, I had given him a soul as well as a body, I had let him see me naked, I had trusted him to see me whole and cherish my weaknesses, because he had already done it ”(Chapter 36 Q3 The trip). Let go¸ and not just in the sexual realm: that's what Jamie offers her through his protection without domination. had already done ”(Chapter 36 T3 The Journey). Let go¸ and not just in the sexual realm: that's what Jamie offers her through his protection without domination. had already done ”(Chapter 36 T3 The Journey). Let go¸ and not just in the sexual realm: that's what Jamie offers her through his protection without domination.
Finally, Claire is never so "obedient" as when the constraint has disappeared. The letting go is visible for the first time after the threats of the Count of Saint-Germain, when Claire's words and gestures unite to accept the protection of her husband: "Don't worry, Sassenach," he said. . I can take care of myself. And I can take care of you too - and you will let me. There was a smile in his voice, but also a question, and I nodded, letting my head fall back to his chest. I leave you, I say ”(Chapter 6, T2 The talisman).
Claire gets used to this restful benevolence which can only be lacking in times exceptional enough for them to both notice it, such as when Claire suffers bleeding during her first pregnancy: “For the first time, I was not. safe in his arms, and this knowledge terrified us both ”(Chapter 22, T2 The Talisman).
Then almost 50 years old¸ she is still animated by the same urgencies as in her youth but she is nevertheless more concerned with stability and eager for serenity alongside a man on whom she can count: came to himself, I had grown used again to Jamie always knowing what to do, even under the most difficult circumstances ”(Chapter 40, T3 The Journey). Who would have thought that the young woman who once stood up to the slightest injunction could one day be impatient with the lack of decision of the one who has become her anchor in the face of any troubled and threatening wind? : "You're going to think of something," I say miserably. You still do. He gave me a strange look. I didn't realize you thought I was Almighty God, Sassenach,
Claire's transformation into a woman free to express her emotional fragility is even more striking when she reunites with Jamie twenty years later. Claire realizes to what extent her former freedom was pride and loneliness and distracted her from genuine happiness: “And what I had thought was my strength - my loneliness, my lack of ties - was my weakness. (…). And I, so proud of being self-sufficient at one point, I couldn't stand the thought of loneliness anymore ”(Chapter 16¸ Q4 The Drums of Autumn). She is ultimately even freer in Jamie's protective safety.
The climax of this touching vulnerability, this instinctively released moment as an awareness of the ephemeral nature of things that the writers have adapted as part of the episode "The Savages" of the fourth season when the violence between Indians and German settlers devastated Claire: “I'm afraid. (…) Jamie hold me please. He hugged me tightly wrapping the cloak around me. I was shaking even though the air was still warm. I'm scared you'll die, and I can't take it, Jamie, I really can't! (Chapter 16, T4 The Drums of Autumn).
If we think back to the first sex scenes between Claire and Jamie before the reconciliation scene of the first volume¸ we subtly perceive in Claire a self-doubt and a fear of abandonment that she tames through an overactive sexual practice¸ like a loophole or a means of filling by sex his need for sincere fusion by feeling. With Jamie¸ she obtains both sexual fusion and sentimental fusion. He is enterprising where Frank is performing¸ he expresses the intense desire to want her again and again when Frank lets himself be called out. And Jamie wants it all: his body¸ his heart and soul and give him the same in return. It is the juxtaposition of the two men that helps Claire realize that love is risky but emotionally beneficial: she agrees to let him fully enter into her privacy because he does not use his weaknesses to dominate her. With him¸ she no longer has to hold back his opinions, doubts¸ desires or preferences. And sexually¸ he's still greedy¸ relieving her that she doesn't have to be in regular demand like he used to be with Frank. He's the man of her life - the one she needed.
The border between coercion and consent remains fragile, however, as revealed by this dispute in the fourth volume¸ when Claire accuses Jamie of having concealed the state of health of Colon Byrnes to prevent him from presiding over his death and finding himself thus mingled with a second death, after that of the slave Rufus: "But you cannot decide what to do and where to go without even consulting myself - I will not stand it, and you know it very well. ! »Claire gets carried away (Chapter 13¸ T4 The drums of autumn). "People notice you, Sassenach," Jamie retorts ... and it nearly cost him his life more than once. Claire knows the speed of the deductions and the accuracy of the intuitions of Jamie, who knows his world and the mistrust of men towards women who are too free.
There are times when Claire cannot shake off her rebellious nature - taking haphazard initiatives against Jamie's expectation, however. But D. Gabaldon shows how the consent that was installed after the conjugal violence of the first volume completely modifies the resolution of the situations born of Claire's “disobedience”. The scenes depicted are entertaining¸ despite the tragic nature of the moment¸ and use a literary mechanism of repeating the postures meant to showcase the perfect chemistry between two beings who confront each other without harming each other. Three scenes are repeated in a similar way of taking initiatives from Claire and authoritarian reaction from Jamie:
The scenario invariably begins with the reproaches. In chapter 54 of the third volume¸ the tone is immediately given: “Cursed are you, woman! Will you never do what you're told? Probably not, I said obediently ”. Rhetorical question¸ Jamie knows the answer ... In chapter 9 of the fourth book, Jamie is silent but Little Ian is the spokesperson for his uncle's critical thoughts. In Chapter 23, Jamie bluntly scolds, "Haven't I told you over and over again to be careful, especially with a new horse?" ".
Then¸ we have more or less the repetition of the same course where Claire is scolded¸ cleaned¸ neat¸ then scolded¸ coaxed¸ pampered¸ jostled¸ and again scolded¸ cared for, kissed… Small variant in chapter 54 of the third volume¸ she is on her knees spoon fed from Jamie's hand. Another small variation¸ in chapter 23 of the fourth volume¸ she is also undressed and washed from head to toe like a child to the point of moaning “with a voluptuous combination of pain and pleasure. "And the proud surgeon Dr. Randall with fourteen years of studies seems very happy thus infantilized ...
Each time¸ Jamie also gives free rein to his fantasy of what he would like to do to Claire for her disobedience; tie him “face down over a cannon and [him] with a piece of rope in his hand” (!) in chapter 54 of the third volume; or again, "in a pleasantly conversational tone, various things that he would like to do to me, starting by hitting me (…) with a stick" (Chapter 23, T4 The drums of autumn). In chapter 9 of the fourth volume, it is in a playful tone that P'tit Ian enumerates the physical violence which his uncle is accustomed to in the event of disobedience, while being certain that he would not use it on his aunt. Insightful the young nephew ...
Because what differs from the domestic violence scene in the first book¸ is that the anger that turned out to be a very bad counselor for Jamie that night¸ is totally evacuated. As Willoughby¸ Jamie aptly puts it “is not angry,” he “was very scared” (Chapter 54, T3 The Journey). And as Jamie later explains to Claire¸ he's scared that she might recklessly kill herself: “Just do me a little favor, Sassenach. Try very hard not to get killed or cut to pieces, okay? It is hard for a man's sensitivity ”(Chapter 60, T3 the journey). We find this same fear in the fourth book when Jamie concludes: "You scare me, Sassenach, and it makes me want to scold you, whether you deserve it or not" (Chapter 23, T4 The drums of autumn).
In these three scenes, a way of resolving their cultural differences between men and women and the 18th / 20th century takes shape, which maintains a balance between what each is ready to accept from the other. To Jamie, the exteriorization of his fear, in an authoritarian but accepted grip of his wife where the punitive inclinations remain in the state of fantasy; to Claire, the freedom not to be inferior to what she is and to follow her instinct as a reckless woman with the assurance of having the support and comfort of an understanding husband. Each goes to the end of the expression of his point of view without there being domination or crushing of one by the other. Consent is always on the lookout.
If Jamie is sometimes annoyed by Claire's initiatives, it is clear that he would be more so if she gave them up. Because, what woman would be able to throw herself on the roads of the Highlands to save him from Wentworth, to repair his body and his soul? Lady Geneva, a manipulative young white goose? To jump out of the Porpoise to warn her threatened husband? Laoghaire, eternal child who loves Jamie only castrated? Certainly, "I found it where I left it," says Jamie. " Oh ? And is that the kind of woman you want? The kind that stays in its place? »(Chapter 54, T3 The journey) asks Claire who knows the answer. When she asks him about the fear he feels for her, he has this wise line which shows that he takes it upon himself out of love, having "lived long enough now to think that it didn't. may not matter much, as long as I can love you ”(Chapter 56, T3 The Journey). In this, Jamie appears to be a model of masculinity that does not diminish in the face of Claire's charisma.
This is the blessed universe offered to Claire when Jamie agrees to respect her person by banishing any disciplinary constraint in their relationship. And what about Jamie? The development of Claire follows a linearity in the work of D. Gabaldon which makes this character more and more endearing as he expresses his fragility without losing his strength. Conversely¸ Jamie is from the start placed very high on the scale of the heart¸ blessed by the Gods¸ adorned with all graces¸ before the author brutally makes him fall from his pedestal in domestic violence¸ for the rise from the ashes like a phoenix.
What the tragic events of the rescue of Fort William reveal about Jamie's personality lies in these two inseparable needs: to protect Claire but also to be helped - which is more surprising for a man of his century.
When Claire agrees to be protected without altering her independence or diminishing her own self-esteem¸ Jamie can unleash whatever gives meaning to a life that seems endured and far removed from her true aspirations. . This confession made in the form of an epitaph as he prepares to send Claire back to her time and to die on the moor of Culloden¸ is a moment of lucidity on a sad reality whose emotional disaster we perceive on a tormented soul: “For I have lied, killed and stolen; betrayed and shattered trust. But there is one thing that must weigh in the balance. When I stand before God, I will have one thing to say, to weigh against the rest. Her voice dropped, almost to a whisper, and her arms tightened around me. Lord, you gave me a rare wife, and God!
The need to protect Claire was expressed very quickly¸ as they reunited at Leoch Castle after meeting just two days earlier: "I wanted you as soon as I saw you - but I loved you when you cried in my arms and let me comfort you, the first time in Leoch ”he confesses to Lalllybroch (Chapter 31¸ T1 The thistle and the tartan). We note the imperious demand "you left me ..." that we find after the threats of Saint-Germain¸ "and you will allow me ...".
This need arises from love but also from the repressed vulnerability that he perceives in her and that he wishes to release in order to take charge of her. It means trusting a man who desperately needs to feel strong¸ admired¸ loved for “a good” cause. In the notion of protection¸ we therefore find both the guarantee of preservation of the physical integrity of his wife and the promise, for both, of an elevation towards a psychological well-being. It is this duality that convinces Claire¸ especially since it is part of an eternity commitment that no one could (his parents died too early or Uncle Lamb emotionally inaccessible) or wanted (Frank and its distant intellectualization of feeling) to offer it: Jamie's double sacrifice to save Claire¸ by offering his body to Randall in Wentworth¸ and then letting her go back to the other Randall on the morning of the Battle of Culloden¸ is the strongest example of the selfless protection he is capable for love. The fifth volume reveals how protecting Claire is an existential question for him¸ where the life of the one he loves is perpetually on the line¸ when Jamie¸ bitten by a snake¸ delivers what he believes to be his last wishes to Roger. Begging him to send her back to her time if he is no longer there for her¸ he has this enigmatic and concise sentence as any explanation¸ an admission both of the exceptionality of his wife and of the enormous responsibility which is his to preserve it: "She is an Elder," he said. They will kill her, if
But¸ from the first times of their meeting¸ Claire also has this moral strength highly reassuring for a young man betrayed¸ proscribed¸ manipulated even by his uncles¸ forced to sleep with a dagger under his pillow. She stands out from those who revolve around Jamie by her lack of utilitarian ulterior motives and by her disinterested friendship. In return¸ he is the only one to choose to trust an Englishwoman suspected by all of being a spy¸ which can only seduce a young woman tired of being alone and misunderstood. We are struck by his early confessions - escape from Fort William¸ (false) murder charge¸ reward for his capture - which could easily harm him but we already sense that the desire for honesty with Claire counts more than his own life. And Claire has this same thirst for the absolute.
Before the wedding and even after¸ until the revelation about Claire's arrival in 1743¸ their attraction resembles an introspective fight to probe the truth of the other¸ ignoring political intrigue and rivalries between Scots and English. Hence their ability - which will never be denied thereafter - to extract themselves from the surrounding fury of men and of History in order to savor the tranquility of sharing. Like a puzzle, the pieces fall into place between Claire's need to be accepted without being judged and Jamie's need to be listened to and valued.
Indeed¸ Jamie shamelessly exposes his scourged back to him because Claire knows how to listen and heal without comforting him in a victim role¸ but on the contrary¸ to help him become stronger. Claire has this gift of making what is complicated simple, obvious what is uncertain. He is touched by this resolutely optimistic heart¸ inclined to see the best in everyone and little inclined to destructive resentment: isn't Claire's forgiveness after domestic violence particularly imbued with greatness of soul? From then on¸ Jamie never ceases to express this irrepressible urge to indulge over the pages of the novels: "But I speak to you as I speak to my own soul," he said, turning me to face him. He reached out and cupped my cheek, his light fingers on my temple. And, Sassenach, he whispered,
When once married and the tension of resentment rises as much as that of the truths to be confessed¸ it is Jamie¸ once again¸ who is the first to open the door of secrets with the confession of his guilt over the death of his father and the supposed rape of his sister by Randall¸ then the fear that Jenny's first child could be the result of this rape¸ the deceitful Dougal having cleverly maintained the legend. A painful confession for the pride of a great warrior which is added to the bitterness to see dashed his hopes of being exonerated by the English deserter Horrocks a few hours earlier: a disappointment that he did not have time to share with Claire¸ quickly being carried away towards Fort William then in a succession of violent arguments with her. This is to say if Jamie needs to be listened to and helped ...
Among all that Jamie understands about Claire on the road to their reconciliation¸ is this very feminine duality: if she is delighted by the grace of her firm muscles or the sensuality of his embraces, it is nevertheless her vulnerability that she falls in love with. : "I was most touched by the events of the last twenty-four hours, when he suddenly shared with me his emotions and his personal life, with all its faults" (Chapter 22¸ T1 The thistle and the tartan).
Claire agrees to help her meet her instinctive need to protect her¸ to provide for her needs and to defend her. In this¸ the Scottish warrior calms down, puts aside a character that is sometimes boorish¸ and even coarse¸ to adorn himself with sweetness¸ with poetry and express a more nuanced personality who accepts to evolve in contact with the one he loves. What Jamie gains then¸ is being able to come to terms with his nature which he himself considers ferocious and violent¸ is to hope that the countless virtues that he attributes to Claire will rub off on him¸ it is to calm down in contact with the authenticity of a woman without make-up or pretense.
Under these conditions¸ obtaining Claire's consent both in the sexual domain¸ by the pleasure it gives her¸ and in everyday life¸ by the multiple attentions that ensure his personal happiness¸ is the very condition of his own fulfillment.
D. Gabaldon's writing is indeed straightforward: he can only be Jamie Fraser when he's with her. Before knowing her¸ he is Alexander MacTavish or Jamie the Red¸ after his departure for Frank he becomes anonymous again¸ the Dunbonnet¸ MacDubh¸ Alex MacKenzie or Alexander Malcom¸ deprived of the one who makes his strength¸ forced "to live twenty years without heart (…). Live half a man, and get used to living in the little that is left, filling the cracks with any mortar that will be useful ”(Chapter 35¸ T3 the journey).
From that moment on, Jamie watches for Claire's moans of ecstasy, the expression on her face, the quickening of her breathing, the contortions of her body as she squirms under his touch, all those marks of satisfaction and satisfaction. encouragement that reveals what she wants. Tender relationship or wilder relationship, Claire displays a sexual voyeurism in a ritualization of gestures and postures that shows Jamie that he is on the right track. Vision, touch, hearing, olfaction… Tirelessly receptive to Claire's pelvic movements, an intimate connoisseur of her erogenous zones¸ he is always listening to Claire to anchor the bodies in consent: “I thought of these little sounds tender that you do when I make love to you, and I could feel you there next to me in the dark, breathing softly then faster,
On the boat that takes them back to Scotland in the third volume¸ Jamie engages in a veritable exegesis of Claire's vocalizations. The moment is funny¸ it's a beautiful scene of decryption of consent by listening to the sounds of the female body thus staged by the series. "And we'll see what kind of noise you don't make, Sassenach," concludes Jamie perfectly aware of his wife's little erotic habits (Chapter 52¸ Q3 The Journey). Voice and hearing are also the first two senses in action which awaken their carnal memories when Claire pushes the door of the printing house.
Drawing by Silvia Mesas.G
Thus¸ Claire lets him secure their future at Fraser's Ridge¸ trusts him “with his life” and “with his heart”, “forever” (Chapter 19¸ T4 The drums of autumn) in order to build their house and organize their life. Whenever Jamie delicately gives him the order to wait, to move away¸ to be careful or to let him do it, we no longer see a dominated woman and a dominating man but more prosaically, a human being asks for it. and another who takes matters into his own hands.
He can only find some semblance of inner peace if he finds alternate protections: Fergus and his severed hand Jenny's family and the hungry farmers Ardsmuir's men and finally Willie. Which also means that when Claire does not occupy all the space of his life¸ he is easily influenced. We saw Dougal's power over him¸ exhibiting him backless in front of the Scottish villagers to garner support and money¸ choosing a wife for him and then ordering him to remain in emotional restraint with her and to beat her for disobedience. After Claire's departure, it is Jenny who knows how to tie her brother to her own priorities¸ plotting a marriage with Laoghaire, whom she knows herself doomed to failure. The fear of loneliness forces him to accept and Claire forgives because she knows his shortcomings¸ “because you're an honest man, Jamie Fraser,” I said, smiling so as not to cry. And may the Lord have mercy on you for that (Chapter 59¸ T3 The Journey).
These lives lived without her nevertheless remain fictitious¸ artificial compared to life with Claire. Because by protecting her¸ it is also himself that he protects¸ by projecting into their couple their hopes for happiness and a better life. In his relationship with Claire¸ we find the expiatory affirmation that he can be a good man. It is in a way his redemption. This is not an empty word for a believing man who questions himself in the depths of his soul. And it is by opening up to Claire that he manages to establish this bond of trust where each one lets himself be guided by the other in order to appease - and cherish - their respective areas of fragility.
Jamie thinks he's violent and feels guilty about it. Although he is violent out of necessity and not out of choice - much less out of pleasure - he holds a high regard for the worth of an honest man and fears that he is not worthy of it: "And I have often wondered if I was master in my soul, or if I had become a slave to my own blade. I have thought over and over again, he continued, looking at our tied hands "that I had drawn my blade too often, and spent so long in the service of wrestling that I was no longer fit for human relations" (Chapter 28¸ T3 The journey). In the next volume, the questions come back with the same anguished urgency: "You are the best man I have ever met." Do you really think I'm a good man? I am a violent man, and I know it well, even when done out of the most urgent necessity, don't such things leave a mark on the soul? »(Chapter 13¸ T4 the Drums of autumn).
It is true that hitting Claire without thinking for a moment how she feels after her abduction¸ could only have prompted the reader to revise his judgment on Jamie or¸ at least¸ to question the value of this man. His violent demeanor revealed how Jamie is obsessed with danger¸ on his guard¸ nerves on edge¸ preferring the worst¸ verbal and physical aggression on the one he loves¸ rather than learning to live with it. threatens. Claire a former war nurse is faced with a case of post traumatic stress that affects many soldiers. But what life can Jamie hope for when he is constantly nervous¸ compensating for his fears with an unhealthy possessiveness on Claire¸ ready to continually impose his authority on her even in the absence of danger as long as he gives himself the illusion of evacuate any risk?
The moment when Claire¸ in Leoch¸'s castle bedroom compares Jamie to Black Jack Randall in a final projection so that he stops his inclinations to take her by force¸ is essential (Chapter 23¸ T1 The Thistle and the Tartan). Of all the insults uttered by Claire¸ this one is truly salutary and expected. First of all because it stops this annoying spiral of brutality on Claire from Fort William - at that moment but also definitely in the work of D. Gabaldon - because Jamie wants the esteem and love of Claire¸ but then¸ because she points to the front line where Claire's fight is halfway between medicine and love to help Jamie.
Worse¸ Jamie is consumed with an obsessive thought that he brings bad luck to those who approach him. He confesses it to Claire¸ in the third volume¸ but this anguish is already installed during the rescue of Fort William¸ in the fear that Claire could follow in the footsteps of her father or Jenny in the hands of Randall. “Too many people have died, Sassenach, because they knew me - or suffered from knowing me. I would give my own body to spare you a moment of suffering - and yet I might wish to close my hand right now, to hear you scream and be sure that I didn't kill you too ”(Chapter 54 ¸T3 The journey). Isn't that exactly what he did? Claire saved in an incredible risk-taking¸ with bare hands and unloaded pistol¸ then Claire beaten¸ shouting loud enough for her sinister self-confidence (and not only for the men of the clan to obtain satisfaction)?
D. Gabaldon sometimes disseminates keys of interpretation in the pages¸ or even the tomes¸ which follow an event: whether it is this one or the sex scene of the reunion of the third volume mirroring that of reconciliation of the first around the issue of wild sex ("I can't be sweet" T1 - "Don't be sweet" T3) ¸ explanations from Jamie in the hot springs after Wentworth on what he fully understood about sexual expectations of Claire (Chapter 41¸ T1 The Thistle and the Tartan) or scenes based on a repetition mechanism… We understand that consent is a dynamic that requires a lot of listening to the other's need for understanding and patience, but there reside not only mutual development but the springs of the durability of a couple.
From then on¸ Claire helps Jamie to evolve from possession to protection¸ from authority to benevolence¸ and finally from suffering suffered to suffering conquered. The rescue of Wentworth and the confessions with Father Anselme are the prelude to a reflection on the meaning of suffering (in an almost Christic posture for Jamie and no less spiritual for Claire) and the significance of their meeting so improbable which connects them from unwavering way to build something beautiful¸ pure and intense that redeems Jamie's sins.
Claire gradually transforms Jamie's fight against Randall¸ it is no longer a destructive revenge to wash away a scorned honor but an affirmation of the value of life¸ that of Claire¸ whose imperious defense dresses a battle with nobility that does not. had not. Jamie kills Randall because he's on his way¸ on Culloden Moor¸ and no longer on an obsessive and costly journey that has already resulted in the loss of a baby¸ Jamie's arrest¸ Claire's rape for his release. Jamie is in a similar stance of healthy aloofness when he tries to help his own daughter¸ Brianna¸ in her reconstruction after the rape by Stephen Bonnet;
The series establishes a ritual blessing from Claire to her “soldier” when he goes to war¸ giving him the assurance that the blood he will inevitably shed will not corrupt his soul. These moments also show that while Claire risks losing him physically, she knows what is important to Jamie and takes it upon herself for love. Likewise¸ during the fifth season¸ the series opts for a simplifying demonstration (this is sometimes its main fault) by inventing from scratch the character of Lieutenant Knox killed in cold blood by Jamie but not without conscience¸ for explain to us¸ if it was needed¸ that Jamie's acts are never free but dedicated to the protection of those he loves.
Claire is there to make him understand that if his actions are not always free from all reproach¸ they are never easy and always guided by the survival of those who rely on him¸ and she is at his side to bring solitude with him born of responsibility and power: “Shut up. Jamie, have you ever done something for yourself - without thinking of someone else? »(Chapter 40¸ T3 The journey)
A moment of complicity in the fifth volume sums up this state of perfect complicity in the repair of wounds¸ by recalling in passing that mutual aid¸ like the sexual pleasure they give each other¸ is always a reciprocal consent: "Do you know that the the only time I'm not in pain is in your bed, Sassenach? When I take you, when I am in your arms, my wounds are healed, and my scars are forgotten. I sighed and rested my head on the curve of his shoulder. My thigh squeezed hers, the softness of my flesh being a mold for its harder shape. Mine too ”(Chapter 87¸ T5 The Cross of Fire). He is absolutely frank with her¸ even if that annoys sometimes (like the admission of his pleasure experienced in the midst of domestic violence) because the gift of oneself does not survive dishonesty or lies: "He does not" There are only two people in this world that I would never lie to, Sassenach, he said softly. You are one of them. And I am the other ”(Chapter 21¸ T6 snow and ash).
Throughout the pages and novels¸ Claire is thus faithful to the metamorphosis begun after the oath¸ sentimentally full and complete in support and encouragement¸ as a serene woman whose self-giving is now as much carnal as emotional: " I can't see you as a bully, I say. (…) I know it, Sassenach. And it's because you can't see me that way that gives me hope. Because I am - and I know it - and yet maybe ... He paused, looking at me intently. You have that… the strength. You have it, but a soul too. Then maybe mine will be saved ”(Chapter 28¸ T3 The Journey). If Jamie senses that she looks just like him better¸ is it because Claire heals and saves lives? As if she was an emanation of him¸ his soul mate¸ but more perfect? This is what emerges from both novels and the series¸ in this perception that his wife's worth constantly helps him make him better¸ as the satisfaction of making Claire happy is essential for his own well-being.
Is he still worthy of it? Jamie unleashes his tormented conscience as the barely found couple is forced to set sail to save Little Ian. "Is it wrong for me to have you?" He whispered. Her face was bone-white, her eyes were dark holes in the twilight. I keep thinking: is it my fault? Have I sinned so much, wanting you so much, needing you more than life itself? He came, eager for comfort, and laid his head on my shoulder ”(Chapter 40¸ Q3 The Journey).
From then on¸ it suffices for Claire to be a little distant or critical for Jamie's saving landmarks to collapse¸ plunging him into total distress. This is the case when they lied to each other about the ring Brianna found and poor Roger's beating. “All the while, he had felt himself not only alone, but bitterly reproached by the one person who could - and should - have offered him comfort. (…). I keep thinking that Frank Randall was a better man than me. She thinks so. His hand wavered, then rested on my shoulder, squeezing hard. I thought ... maybe you felt the same, Sassenach ”(Chapter 53¸ T4 The Drums of Autumn). Losing Claire's esteem is a fear that had not manifested itself since the rescue of Fort William when she hit him with all kinds of bird names¸ "bastard" ¸ "horny dog" ¸ "sadistic" ¸ "motherfucker »…. To be recognized in her exemplary nature by his wife is from the beginning of their story an inner quest for Jamie¸ during awkward obedience injunctions¸ before the love of Claire freed from Frank offers him the support and the strength to continue. his dreams to become the man he can be proud of.
Thus¸ Claire repairs a soul tormented by guilt but also helps him to become what he is : a leader.
He cannot claim to be Laird in Scotland because of the prosecutions of which he is the object but nevertheless¸ Claire helps him to see himself as such¸ by consolidating him in his legitimate authority when he talks with his peers. Whether it is about political thoughts or intimate torments¸ Jamie probes Claire tirelessly¸ collects her opinion¸ becomes infatuated with his advice¸ demands his opinion on men and events¸ totally convinced of intelligence and honesty of his wife to help him make the best decisions. We see her at his side but she knows how to step aside when required, present but silent, sometimes because misogyny limits her exposure, but more often out of trust and respect towards a husband whose qualities she recognizes and admires as a strategist.
She understands perfectly when to speak or let Jamie take control of the situation and her gaze never tires of admiring her: "Here was a man who had always known his worth" (Chapter 12¸ Q4 The Drums of Autumn) and that a woman in love can constantly bring to light. She feels responsible for a time to see him decline the legacy of River Run before remembering that the convictions she defends are an integral part of Jamie's quest for meaning as well as the blossoming of the one he loves. . She worries to see him saddened not to have money¸ a roof and goods to put at the disposal of his wife but she reassures¸ again and again.
As for Claire¸ the twenty years of separation are an opportunity for Jamie to put words on the evils and to take stock of what we have lost and what we find: "To have you to new with me - to speak with you - to know that I can say everything, not keep my words or hide my thoughts ”(Chapter 28¸ T3 the journey) he blurted out to Claire shortly after their reunion. Jamie can't conceive of sharing his weaknesses with anyone other than Claire. We guess it when reading the books and we confirm it when watching the series: "I am nothing without her" spontaneously expresses Jamie in front of a perplexed Governor Tyron who seems to be wondering what a wife can bring so essential to a man (Season 4¸ Episode 4). The viewer¸ is struck by the presence of a remarkably well-grounded Jamie in the fifth season¸ culmination of years of construction / repair¸ in full possession of his natural authority¸ with mature charisma and charm¸ listened to¸ respected ¸ in his natural role as leader and all of this is largely Claire's work. Claire's gaze on him is her source of inspiration and reading the pleasure it gives her is the pledge that her path is the right one.
Relationship to sex¸ conjugal violence… the last element redefined by consent: infidelity.
In the light of the words exchanged of the shared meanings of the sexual ecstasy and of the mutual respect that presides over their relationship the question of infidelity is not supposed to arise. We have seen (Part I) that it is only tolerated in the 18th century if it is masculine¸ the brothels being there to testify to its tacit acceptance¸ and that it is perceived as the expression of the conquering sexuality of men of this time. Jamie is an exception¸ in the second and third volumes¸ in Paris and Edinburgh¸ in his refusal to conform to the habits of ephemeral enjoyment. He shares with Claire this commitment to appropriation which can only be experienced with exclusivity.
Therefore¸ the question of infidelity only arises in an incongruous way and never falls within the wear and tear of sexual desire¸ in the search for novelty or for the narcissistic adventure of what is immediately gratifying¸ as this is often the case at all times. It is either¸ an accusation to test the other¸ or¸ a self-punishment inflicted by the absence of the other. In both cases, it is a mirror of the suffering undergone.
Thus¸ in the first case¸ the question of infidelity arises at the turn of a curious mental operation more or less conscious of Claire when she accuses Jamie of infidelity with Laoghaire instead of incriminating herself. Frank is her bad conscience which deprives her not of the consent of the body but of that of feeling and that feeds the misunderstanding with Jamie. In chapter 23 of the first book¸ during their final reconciliation exchange before making love¸ Claire projects onto Jamie what she has not resolved in herself¸ her own guilt of being unfaithful to Frank. No doubt at this moment her fear of commitment of not being loved and understood is playing out in Claire, which she evacuates in feigned indifference. She thus tries to give herself all the good reasons to leave Jamie¸ because she could not trust him¸ unless it is the other way around¸ to make it easier for him by being hurtful enough to scare him away. So¸ by refusing to come to terms with her own reality - her infidelity to Frank and her irresistible attachment to Jamie - she projects her own faults on him¸ letting the anger rise so that the breakup is only the only way out. But Jamie is in the same emotional posture as during their two-day ride before their arrival in Leoch: he seeks to understand Claire and reassure her. And he succeeds again. So¸ by refusing to come to terms with her own reality - her infidelity to Frank and her irresistible attachment to Jamie - she projects her own faults on him¸ letting the anger rise so that the breakup is only the only way out. But Jamie is in the same emotional posture as during their two-day ride before their arrival in Leoch: he seeks to understand Claire and reassure her. And he succeeds again. So¸ by refusing to come to terms with her own reality - her infidelity to Frank and her irresistible attachment to Jamie - she projects her own faults on him¸ letting the anger rise so that the breakup is only the only way out. But Jamie is in the same emotional posture as during their two-day ride before their arrival in Leoch: he seeks to understand Claire and reassure her. And he succeeds again.
In this example¸ infidelity reduced to the rank of unfounded fear¸ consolidates the couple by bringing its third stone to the building of consent¸ by adding to reciprocity in sexual pleasure and to the egalitarian relationship without marital violence in the public sphere ¸ Jamie's promise not to follow the adulterous practices of the men of his time.
Once Claire has chosen Jamie¸ her return to Frank in the third volume therefore confines infidelity to a situation suffered. The novel is more enigmatic than the series about the possible resumption of sexual relations between Frank and Claire. It works by ellipsis¸ suggesting “efforts” at sexual reconnection. Even if the series takes the party to show two sexual antics¸ Frank is always in this modest distance and the viewer can only feel a saddened embarrassment in front of this ghostly couple around which the magnified silhouette of Jamie hovers.
For Jamie too¸ infidelity can only be suffered. She is this cruel reminder of what we have lost
du¸ it restores a connection with the loved one by negating what the partner of the moment will never be.
Jamie's infidelity with Laoghaire is the only one that triggers a crisis in their relationship because it affects the heart and calls into question a consent that does not tolerate either lying or denial.
Indeed¸ what infidelity are we talking about? Not that of bodies. Infidelity is never a sexual question since it is imposed in the heartbreak linked to the absence of the loved one. With Claire or Jamie¸ one can only be unfaithful through the corruption of the heart since sex is necessarily undergone. Here again¸ the consent between Claire and Jamie swept aside the traditional anchoring of infidelity in carnal pleasure to limit it to the only betrayals of hearts and souls.
Infidelity is therefore a question of allegiance to a promise¸ the one sealed in the marriage pact¸ and that Jamie broke by marrying Laoghaire. Claire knows well the emptiness of this union¸ what shocks her does not come from the bodies which intermingle from time to time in what can only be a conjugal duty¸ it is this fusional consent that she once pronounced with him and which finds himself smeared in Jamie's remarriage vows; it is also the crystallization on the person of Laoghaire who is the embodiment of all of Claire¸'s emotional flaws since that stealthy kiss in an alcove of Leoch¸ castle although the object of Jamie's desire in this scene is already Claire and in no case Laoghaire. It nevertheless returns to haunt Claire regularly in her irrational fear of losing desirability and exclusivity¸ reviving the ancient wounds of abandonment. The series escalates into an already intense tragedy by letting Jamie know about Laoghaire's guilty role in sentencing Claire to the stake¸ adding to the betrayal of the marriage the trivialization of a crime. With this bias¸ the writers choose to taint Jamie more at this point in the series than when he beat Claire¸ while the reader will tend to feel the opposite.
Gravity that never deceives¸ D. Gabaldon scares Claire away in the early morning hours of the wedding revelation when she did not "allow" her to escape after Jamie had beaten her. We cannot avoid the parallel between these two injuries. Was she less free then than twenty years later? Not necessarily. A marriage is a thoughtful decision¸ which commits Jamie to God and men¸ and not a sudden act triggered by anger coupled with pain along with the fear of losing your loved one at Randall's hands. In addition¸ Claire was aware of the wrongs done to the MacKenzie clan and¸ especially¸ in the middle of emotional questioning about the feelings of the one who had risked his life for her with a sacrificial intensity of which she still did not know the price. Maybe if Jenny hadn't interrupted their carnal reconnection after the revelation of the marriage¸ in this wild fusion that is customary for them to settle their differences¸ Claire would have been reassured about the strength of Jamie's desire and the immutable bond. that unites them. What saves the couple a few pages later¸ is once again a scenario close to the reconciliation of volume one¸ is Jamie's ability to humbly reveal his own weaknesses - cowardice¸ loneliness¸ fear¸ desire for being useful - and her inability to master her life in the absence of her loved one¸ which reinforces Claire in the existential need of one another towards the unwavering quest for meaning in their two fused destinies.
In conclusion¸ what are the lessons to be learned from the expression of verbal or silent consent between Claire and Jamie?
The senses - sight¸ touch¸ hearing¸ smell¸ taste - are constantly requisitioned and the harmonious companion of verbal consent until the latter becomes so obvious that it becomes unnecessary over the course of the novels. It is only when one is prey to discomfort discomfort or fatigue immediately decoded by the other that he resurfaces in a quest for caring reassurance¸ never to hurt or constrain.
Fear of losing independence and self-esteem by relying on others for Claire¸ need to overcome the guilt of being a violent man for Jamie: both have great weaknesses whose confession is initially perceived as a defeat or humiliation. Mutual consent is established to unload their respective weaknesses and allow each to take charge of them with a fundamentally altruistic intention¸ never to diminish the other because they constantly have this respect for their mutual pride¸ but for the 'help evolve: become a chef for Jamie¸ be an accomplished woman in all of her priorities for Claire.
From consent is therefore born a redistribution of roles where each works for the development of the other¸ far from the fixed expectations of the 18th century - or any era for that matter ... He gives himself to live with passion during sexual intercourse. between Claire and Jamie. It is also materialized by the gift that each gives to the other: a form of absolution for Jamie correcting his faults in the mirror that Claire holds out to him; a rooting for a woman who is no longer alone¸ misunderstood¸ and finds herself mother and grandmother reigning over a community of settlers.
Consent disrupts their referral (and defense) systems, but for the better. It is a permanent reflection on the equality in the differentiation assumed between a man and a woman with beautifully sexed bodies. The result is a complicity in public life which joins that of the private sphere in this tireless reciprocity.
If they offer each other their weaknesses to take charge of them¸ they are in no way unaware of their respective strengths so that each one relies on the other where he is most gifted: to Claire¸ medicine and this foreknowledge of things that come to him from the twentieth century¸ to Jamie the protective physical strength allied to a fine knowledge of men.
To Claire's great need for recognition, Jamie responds by indicating her place and role in an egalitarian relationship. To Jamie¸'s great need for recognition, Claire responds by letting him rule their destiny with unconstrained confidence. With a few simple rules lovingly broken down: as soon as one has a weakness the other takes over; none makes the other suffer in order to save their self-esteem; all their exchanges are placed under the auspices of honesty¸ giving of oneself and listening.
As a caring mother¸ Claire gives Brianna one final wise piece of advice before she leaves to join Jamie: “Once you've chosen a man, don't try to change him. (…). It's impossible. Most importantly, don't let him try to change you. Neither will he, but men always try ”(Chapter 43¸ Q3 The Journey). To flourish together without leaving oneself: consent has given all its meaning to maternal prediction.
Thus¸ Claire can act freely freed from conjugal obedience¸ under the benevolent gaze of her husband. This is her most brilliant triumph, the one that allows her to lead a life that is not reduced to anonymity behind her husband, not only being the wife of Laird or Colonel Fraser, but a nurse, doctor. , ally and political advice: while the women represented in the Outlander saga are undifferentiated or anonymous, confined to domestic or representation tasks, Claire is present alongside Jamie in a professional role of her own, complementary, and associated in discussions carried out as well with, Colum, Dougal, the Duke of Sandringham¸ Lord Lovat¸ the Bonnie Prince Charlie, the governor Tyron or the Brown brothers. It also negotiates, influences, proposes.
The television staging has the advantage of bringing finely to light these moments of conjugal partnership but also what Claire arouses in return with certain men unaccustomed to this feminine aura¸ a mixture of annoyance, mistrust or frank hostility, sublimated in a single glance, that of Lionel Brown¸ both hateful and lewd in the third episode of the fifth season. Raping Claire is just as much to remind her of her status as a sexual object as to signify her eternal inferiorization, far from the place Jamie offers her by his side. It's also that sharp sentence uttered by planter MacNeill annoyed by Claire¸ considering that "there is nothing worse than a stubborn woman." (…). They can only blame themselves Evil happens to them ”(Chapter 11¸ T4 The drums of autumn) ¸ echoing the Dougal¸ Randall¸ Saint-Germain or Brown in their relentlessness to demean Claire. With the assurance of a woman who knows she is fully supported¸ she takes initiatives consistent with her moral code¸ operating the wounded slave of River Run: Jamie "would defend me, whatever choice I made" (Chapter 11 ¸ T4 The drums of autumn).