I most enjoyed your reply, Merry. I've found myself puzzling over your points all week
The only example that comes immediately to mind, is what I think of as the fichu fiasco. The horror of it drove details from my mind!
I'm sorry I don't recall the exact circumstances, or even in which tome this occurs, but a woman takes off her fichu and uses it as a rag. Someone had a sweaty brow, or was bleeding, or muddy. And Claire or some other woman whipped off her fichu to wipe it up.
I don't remember the specific example either but I have to say that I'm often conflicted by Claire's use of her clothing & other property. There's one instance where pages are devoted to the creation of Claire's dress for an important event. Of course she ends up first dragging it through the mud and then having someone bleed-out all over it. Ruined I say!! I'm using the term "conflicted" because this type of thing happens often and I always end up feeling materialistic and petty compared to Claire who gives not a whit for her things.
I couldn't forgive her rapist along with Brianna. I know he got his in the end, fine, but the scene where she visits him in jail just doesn't ring true for me. She should want him to die slowly and painfully, then and there.
And then there's Fergus. Child rape, shrugged off with savoir faire, just isn't realistic, when we know that victims of childhood rape tend to grow up to either commit child rapes themselves or be victims in abusive relationships later in life, especially without counseling. Sure, Fergus grown up isn't the easiest mate, he has his shortcomings, but he just doesn't seem to be as haunted by having been repeatedly violated as a child, as I would think probable.
I agree with you about that jail scene. I often feel that DG doesn't know exactly what to do with Brianna. It's like she's a necessary character but not really a loved character. Probably this is just my own bias as I find her annoying. Brianna is there to drive the story forward and so she sometimes doesn't make a lot of sense along the way.
WRT Fergus, I actually hadn't thought of that before.
As you say, in general DG doesn't want to gloss over the emotional repercussions of assault. I think that the problem is that there's so much assault going on it's hard to balance it all. At the time when Fergus is attacked by BJ Randall, both Claire & Jamie are suffering so much you just can't add more suffering from Fergus into the mix. Fergus suffering is "saved" until books later.
You can see a problem with this balance in Season 2 of the TV series as well. In the books, Jamie & Claire have time to spend in the Abbey so that he's on the road to recovery by the time they enter French society. In the series, the timeframe has to be shortened so Jamie's recovery is extended through the season. For me it meant that Jamie & Claire had very little time to enjoy (if that's the correct word) each other's company before they were again thrown into dire emotional straits. I could have used a bit more happiness in the mix and I think it would have made the loss of Faith even more poignant.
Of course it's oh so easy to be an armchair quarterback!
So, sometimes the Outlander books make me squirm. But sometimes I find them thrilling. And the thrill is not only from compelling storytelling of fascinating adventures. There are moments of depth, poignancy, that raise the whole thing above the level of confection, and clear up to art. Gabaldon uses her wild, centuries-hopping tale to reach real truths about the human heart and soul, and then, of course, I have to forgive her for everything---even the fichu fiasco.
Well said. I too can forgive her everything!
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updated by @tatiana-dokuchic: 01 Dec 2016 12:56:39PM