Study Guide

Outlander Tradition and Customs

By Diana Gabaldon

Tradition and Customs

Traveling to a different country is always a source of culture shock. Customs are different, language can be different, heck—the basic way of life can be the total opposite of what you're used to. Now imagine traveling into a different country in a different time.

In Outlander, Claire is used to the customs of Scotland in the 20th century, so it's not too difficult for her to adjust to going two hundred years into the past. If you're a non-Scottish reader, though, you might be in for a double dose of culture shock. Not only are the accents different, but the way they conduct business, the way they punish criminals, the way they party and celebrate… well, it's nothing like what we're used to, that's for sure.

Questions About Tradition and Customs

  1. What's the biggest culture shock Claire experiences? How does she adapt?
  2. Why is Claire so good at adapting to the different customs of the 18th century? What customs does she have trouble adapting to?
  3. Did anything shock you more than it shocked Claire? What and why?
  4. Was there anything done in the 1740s the same way it's done in the 1940s? Did this surprise you?

Chew on This

Learning tradition and customs of a place you're visiting is always important… but when time traveling to the 18th century, it's a matter of life and death.

Some things aren't a culture shock for Claire because going back in time from 1942 is a lot different than doing so from, say, 2014.