Study Guide

Outlander Setting

By Diana Gabaldon

Setting

Scotland, 1743

Home Away from Home

Only two chapters are spent in what is present-day to Claire—post-World War II Scotland—before she gets whisked away two hundred years into the past. Even though Claire has seen war, she still experiences what could best be described as culture shock. She's used to seeing wounds inflicted by artillery, not by musket ball; interestingly, though, while hot showers are nice, Claire never seems to miss modern conveniences. For the record, we would not be so cool about this change.

Perhaps Claire is more interested in the medical differences than the comforts since she was raised by an uncle who often eschewed "civilization." In fact, she remarks at one point, "last time I walked such a path, the ground was littered with sandwich wrappers and cigarette butts" (13.11). Nature sure is nice without litter, isn't it? Again, though, we really love ourselves some hot showers.

While the scenery is easy to get used to, however, the people aren't. Women behave much more traditionally (and dress much more modestly) than Claire is used to, and many are wary of her modern ways. It takes her a while, but she eventually makes friends with the people of Castle Leoch. She becomes so close to them, in fact, that she almost regrets running away to her own time period, thinking, "The thought that I would never again see that grim pile of stone or its inhabitants gave me an odd feeling of regret" (11.1). Looks like somebody's found a new home.

Claire eventually grows to love living in this time period. Yes, being with Jamie is the major factor in that, but it's also remarkable how comfortable she is living in the past. Maybe the mid-18th century is the time when Claire was meant to exist? To each her own, we suppose.