Outlander Book Club: Book 1, Chapter 39 breakdown

Outlander Season 1 -- Courtesy of STARZ
Outlander Season 1 -- Courtesy of STARZ /
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Outlander Season 1 — Courtesy of STARZ /

Just the Outlander chapter

We start the chapter with Claire going to see Jamie again. Jamie doesn’t want to see his wife. In fact, he wants Claire to leave and go back to Scotland. More importantly, he wants her to return to Frank. Jamie thinks that this will be the safest and best option for her.

Of course, Claire isn’t one to just give up on Jamie, so she has to take drastic measures to save him.

When his fever spikes, she realizes that he has an infection. It’s coming from the hand, so she and others at the abbey need to take immediate action. We learn in the chapter that the fever is the body’s way to fight off the fever, but it can also be extremely dangerous. Claire needs to apply heat directly where the infection is to draw it out, so she uses hot water and bedsheets to do that.

Meanwhile, she uses the snow outside to help take Jamie’s body temperature down elsewhere. It’s the only way to prevent the fever from killing him.

However, it’s clear that many fear that he will die. Jamie’s uncle, Alexander, comes to perform the Blessed Sacrament of Our Lord. As Claire puts it, it’s the Last Rites. However, she is corrected on one part. While there is an element of preparing the soul for death, there’s also an element of praying to God to save the life of the person.

It’s an important process for both life and death. Claire stands aside and watches it happen, but she’s not prepared to just let him die without medical intervention.

There’s not much she can now do physically, though. It’s up to Jamie to fight for his life, and that means she starts taking drastic measures. She fills the room with opium and encourages Jamie to think about his time at Wentworth Prison. She wants to bring the memories of Black Jack Randall to the surface.

Jamie will fight Randall. He’ll fight those memories. That should encourage him to fight for his life.

Of course, it’s a risky option. He could have been too weak or disinterested in fighting. However, Jamie reacts the way Claire expects. While he could have killed her, she was willing to risk that to save his life.

At the end, Jamie sees Claire as Ellen. He becomes like a child again, falling asleep in Claire’s lap, viewing it as his mother comforting him.

I like this moment. As we all get sick, we often want our moms. There’s just something about our moms that makes things better, especially when it comes to loving moms who have dropped everything when it comes to sickness. It’s easy to connect with Jamie at this moment.

The next morning, Jamie is hungry. The two talk and it’s clear that while Jamie feared he was dying, he doesn’t fear it now. And he wants to live.