Study Guide

Outlander Violence

By Diana Gabaldon


Scotland in the 18th century seems so quaint and picturesque. Think: rolling hillsides covered in heather, beautiful stone castles, plus those kilts. But these images are missing one crucial component: all the bloody bodies scattered across the countryside. Details, right?

Scotland isn't the most peaceful place in Outlander. It's ruled by a variety of different clans and their relationship with the king of England doesn't exactly involve sending fruit baskets back and forth. As a result of the tension, skirmishes break out at any time, and there is ample bleeding, broken bones, and even death. You won't see that in any travel brochure. (Or should we say time-travel brochure?)

Questions About Violence

  1. In what ways is the violence of the Scottish Highlands different from the violence of World War II? In what ways is it similar?
  2. Why isn't Claire more grossed out by the violence she sees?
  3. What events force Claire to commit her own acts of violence? How does she feel about her actions?

Chew on This

Claire goes from one time of violence (World War II) to another (the skirmishes leading to the Jacobite Rebellion). The difference in scale makes the violence easier for Claire to deal with in some ways, and more difficult in others.

Claire is exceptional in this book in that she never commits violence until she has to.