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In her novel series Outlander, Diana Gabaldon focuses on the life of the main character, Claire Randall, post-Second World War, who travels back in time to the  18th century in Scotland. There, Claire encounters Jamie Fraser, a Scottish Highlander, whom she weds and falls in love with. With her knowledge of the future, Claire is aware that a deadly battle will soon take place that will destroy the Highlanders, but, together with Jamie, the pairing do everything possible to prevent this massive catastrophe and its effects thereafter. Although the characters and some of the places depicted are entirely fictional, most locations and events did in fact occur in reality, and the deadly battle was the Battle of Culloden, which was part of the Jacobite Uprising.Historical Research/Factual BackgroundIn the year 1688, King James VII was forced to leave Britain due to his Catholic faith, after William of Orange, husband of James’ daughter Mary, convinced Parliament to give him the crown permanently rather than just temporarily until James’ son, James Francis Stuart, came of age (The Jacobite Rebellion). Those who continued to support the Stuart dynasty belonged to a group called the Jacobites, named after James. After being driven out, James attempted to take back his throne, but to no avail, and “died in exile in 1701” (The Jacobite Rebellion).  William and Mary, as well as her sister, also died leaving no heir. And so George, Elector of Hanover in Germany, was appointed King of Britain.  The Jacobites rallied behind James Francis Stuart, but he also never regained the throne. However, he did marry Princess Clementina Maria Sobieski of Poland and together they had a son, Prince Charles Edward Louis John Casimir Silvester Maria Stuart, nicknamed “Bonnie Prince Charlie” and the “Young Pretender” (The Jacobite Rebellion).Charles was the instigator of the Jacobite uprising of 1745, which would end in defeat with the Battle of Culloden, and would determine the end of the Jacobite cause. He would arrive in Scotland in 1745, looking for support from Highland chiefs, and although initially reluctant, after one of the chiefs joined, many others followed, persuaded by Charles’ “enthusiasm and charm” (Jacobite Rising of 1745). The Highland army continued to grow as it traveled throughout Scotland, waiting for the call to strike. The army was in Edinburgh on September 17th, and on the 21st, the Jacobites, led by Lord George Murray, attacked the redcoats, taking them by surprise, and the fight was over within 15 minutes.  This was the Battle of Prestonpans.After about a month of no activity, Prince Charles crossed over into England with 5,500 men and advanced into the middle of England, only about 120 miles from London. But with bad weather, little English support, and facing and army of 12,000 from the front and another from the rear, the Prince was advised to retreat. Charles argued against doing so, but eventually gave in and retreated to Scotland, missing out on a large opportunity they didn’t know they had (The Jacobite Rebellion of 1745). The son of King George I, William, Duke of Cumberland, commanded the Hanoverian army, which eventually met with the Jacobite army near Falkirk. The Jacobites came out victorious once again, having inflicted heavy casualties on the redcoats. The Jacobite army had been undefeated throughout the entire campaign from Glenfinnan to Falkirk (The Jacobite Revolts: Chronology).Following Falkirk, Charles had planned on continuing south once more, but was advised to move north, which the Prince agreed to. As the army traveled north, their number grew smaller and by February 20th, were down to 5,000 men. After some time their numbers reached 8,000, as they were advancing on Inverness. Here, they established a base. Charles chose to stage a defensive action, against advice, and would meet with the Hanoverian army at the moor around Culloden and Drummossie. Additionally, Charles ignored warning that the marshy ground of the moor would favor the opposing side, a larger government force. On the wet morning of April 16, 1746, the opposing forces met on Culloden Moor. And over the time span of an hour, Hanoverian cannon fire killed many clansmen.  The Highlanders charged, and although they were slowed down by the conditions of the ground, they still managed to advance, but recoat rifle fire rained into them. As the article on “The Jacobite Rebellion” states, “it is estimated that Jacobite losses amounted to 2,000; the Hanoverians lost 300” (Jacobites and the Union).Afterwards, government forces hunted down anyone who was thought to have been involved in the Jacobite Rebellion, and many houses and castles were burned down. Other after effects include: “Hundreds were executed (after brief trials in England), 700 died in the prison ships in the river Thames in London and a thousand were sold as slaves to the American plantations. The kilt was banned and no Highlander could carry a weapon. The clan system may not have lasted for much longer anyway, but the aftermath of Culloden hastened its demise.” (The Jacobite Rebellion)Charles was able to evade capture for five months and eventually was able to escape to France in exile (The Jacobite Revolts: Chronology). The Battle of Culloden was a complete disaster for Highlander culture.Fiction SelectionIn the eight-soon-to-be-nine-novel Outlander series, Diana Gabaldon details the story of a 1946, post-World War II nurse, Claire Randall.  After 6 years in the war Claire reunites with her husband Frank Randall, who also served in the war.  In an effort to rekindle their relationship, after being separated shortly after their marriage, during their first honeymoon in fact, Claire and Frank travel to Inverness, Scotland for a second honeymoon.  The main reason this destination chosen is to allow Frank to delve further into his infatuation with his family history, specifically learning about an ancestor named Jonathan “Black Jack” Randall, who has ties to Scotland.  After a few days in Scotland, Claire and Frank visit a circle of standing stones called Craigh na Dun, described to be like a miniature Stonehenge, and watch a ritual performed by some of the women.  The next morning, Claire returns to investigate a plant that caught her eye (as she’s interested in botany and the medicinal uses of plants).  Here, Claire begins to hear a strange sound she thinks could possibly be a beehive located within a fracture of one of the rocks and proceeds to examine it, placing a hand on the rock to steady herself.  As she does so, the stone begins to “scream” and is joined in by the rest of the stones, along with “noise of battle” and the “cries of dying men and shattered horses” (35).  Upon waking, disoriented, her surroundings are still the same and nothing seems to have changed, but soon she wll realize that everything has changed.  Then, Claire finds men running around in kilts, others in red coats, gunfire, muskets, and horses.  She also sees Frank — except it’s not Frank — it’s Jonathan Randall.  He attempts to capture her, but she is taken away by a group of Scottish Highlanders, one of which has a dislocated shoulder which Claire treats before his companions can make it worse.  This injured Scot is James “Jamie” Fraser, the other protagonist. Claire is taken back to Castle Leoch and meets Jamie’s uncles, Colum MacKenzie, chieftain of the clan, and Dougal MacKenzie.  Eventually, Claire realizes she’s traveled back in time 200 years to 1743.  She remains at the castle, although suspected of being an English spy, taking on the role of the previous doctor.  Claire attempts escaping on multiple occasions in efforts of returning back to her own time, but to no avail.  After another encounter with Jonathan Randall, Randall tries to take Claire away again, but Dougal arranges a marriage between Claire and Jamie so that Randall can no longer do so, which also stars to bring Claire and Jamie closer together.  As time passes, Claire forms an intense bond with Jamie as well as a growing affection for the rest of the Highlanders she’s met.  However, having come 1946, Claire possesses knowledge of the future, including knowledge of what would become of the Highlanders.  Claire tells Jaimie of his people’s fate, as well asa few others along the way, and together Claire and Jaimie do everything in their power to prevent the disaster that will soon be upon them.  The first novel is told in first person from Claire’s perspective, providing the reader with an in-depth and intimate view of her experiences and thoughts.  The limitation of only a single character perspective also serves to aid in providing a clear understanding for the reader as to what is happening in the story.  Yet in later books, more perspectives are introduced as the reader becomes more familiar with characters, locations, and times.  Gabaldon’s consistent inclusion of complex sentences give the reader a detailed narrative of the events that occur in such a way that the reader might feel as if they themselves have also been transported into the world of Outlander.  Also contributing to the success of the novel is the fitting diction.  Claire uses formal, proper language as she is from 1946, England and received a quality education. Claire also possesses quite a “colorful” vocabulary, something women from the 18th century would quite rarely retain.  But what really stands out is the Scottish dialect Gabaldon has all the Scots use, for example, ‘Ye ken, lass, it’s fairly easy to be brave, sittin’ in a warm tavern ower a glass of ale. ‘Tis not so easy, squatting in a cold field, wi’ musket balls going past your head and heather ticklin’ your arse. And it’s still less easy when you’re standing face to face wi’ your enemy, wi’ your own blood running down your legs’ (247).The consistent usage of Scottish dialect throughout the series provides an exquisite sense for the environment that is Scotland.As seen with many entertainment pieces involving time travel, foreshadowing is prominent throughout the story. In the very beginning of the story when Claire and Frank as in Inverness, Frank thinks he sees a ghost that fits the description of Jamie Fraser, although the reader does not know this at the time. This puts Frank on edge and when he tells Claire about it, he begins to question her fidelity during the war. He questions if the ghost might be a dead lover of hers, which in that moment, to Claire, he wasn’t, but he will be. Another important element of the novel that enhances the reader’s experience is the imagery. Gabaldon’s rich and vivid descriptions of surroundings allow the reader to experience the scenes add the characters within them would. The following scene serves as an example:”We lay quiet for a time, listening to the occasional crack of the burning applewood in the hearth and the faint sounds of the inn as the guests stirred to life. There were callings to and fro from the balconies across the courtyard, the swish and clop of hooves on the slushy stones outside, and the odd squeal now and then from below, from the piglets the landlady was raising in the kitchen behind the stove” (399). Within the imagery Gabaldon places various rhetorical devices such as onomatopoeia when describing the “swish and clop” and the horses hooves making the scene all the more realistic.Evaluation and InterpretationAside from the time travel, the plot, and the characters themselves, Outlander, for the most part, is historically accurate.  From the vivid depictions of Scotland’s various landscapes, to the representation of the political tensions taking place, to the realistic interpretations of the experiences faced by those who endure war, Diana Gabaldon´s extensive research pays off in creating a story filled with character and personality from the fictional aspects, while also maintaining an accurate depiction of the events that took place during the time periods discussed throughout the series. Gabaldon holds notable credentials including a B.S. in Zoology, an M.S. in Marine Biology from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and a PhD in behavioral ecology, nonetheless, she is not a historian (“Delving”).  Be that as it may, her experience as a university research professor makes up for not technicially being an expert on history, giving her the ability to perform extensive historical research to act as the backbone to her story-telling (“Delving”).With her knowledge in nature, Gabaldon presents the reader with captivating imagery detailing Scotland’s breathtaking landscapes. This can be seen in a multitude of scenes throughout the book, such as the instance in which Claire and Frank have second honeymoon in Inverness, Scotland.  Although aiding with the plot and providing a unique storyline, some events were of course adjusted, such as the simplification of the Jacobite wars, skipping over some civil conflicts and religious difference than those that were presented, possibly to maintain the story intriguing for her audience, rather than become a textbook recount of historical occurrences (History). In her techniques of similes and juxtaposition, she demonstrates a clear and concise romance between the multiple characters. These techniques allow for the development of the main characters as love brings them together, as well as when it breaks them. Gabaldon has stated that when her imagination fails her in continuing the story, she falls back on history to help her develop the characters, based on feelings she obtains from her research.

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