Outlander Book Club: Drums of Autumn Chapter 11 breakdown

Outlander Season 4 -- Courtesy of Aimee Spinks/STARZ
Outlander Season 4 -- Courtesy of Aimee Spinks/STARZ /
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Outlander Season 4 — Courtesy of Aimee Spinks/STARZ
Outlander Season 4 — Courtesy of Aimee Spinks/STARZ /

Just the Outlander chapter

Things start off relatively quiet. Everyone is simply getting used to being at River Run, and the work that they’re expected to do. For Claire, it mostly means spending some time with Jocasta.

The two are pleasant toward each other. I do think there’s a hint that they could get alone, but Claire can’t help but think about the slaves. She can’t do anything about the slaves so she tries to call on them as little as possible.

Jocasta doesn’t do that. Jocasta would have needed some help regardless, and she treats her slaves well. She even wants to save Rufus during the chapter, despite knowing the law.

It’s in this chapter that Claire notes how Jocasta has coped with her blindness. Every morning, her balls of wool are organized in a particular way so that she can reach for the color that she wants. It’s a positive look at a disability, as Jocasta doesn’t focus on the loss of her eyesight but just moves forward knowing it’s not coming back.

Meanwhile, Jamie is spending time with Farquard Campbell to get used to the running of the land. It’s during the chapter that Farquard comes with the news that there’s a problem. Farquard needs Claire’s medicinal tools, but he wants Jamie to come with him. It’s not a matter for a woman, apparently.

It turns out that the matter is a slave will need to be killed for shedding a white man’s blood. That is the letter of the law in North Carolina, and there is no way for Farquard to get around it, even if he wants to. Of course, Claire goes with Jamie to deal with the situation. She’s seen horrific things in the past, so they don’t expect this to be too bad.

When they get there, Rufus is hanging by a hook from the abdomen. Claire arranges for him to be let down and she tends to his wounds. Farquard is angry. Sure, Rufus has done wrong and needs to be killed, but that doesn’t mean he should be treated in the way that he is.

Claire realizes that Rufus won’t be allowed to live even if she saves him. So, despite his injuries being ones that she could help heal, Claire gives him a poison so that he dies quickly. She thinks about her actions, including the fact that Rufus didn’t get a say in this.

It’s certainly not the first time she’s helped someone die. While she’s taken the “do no harm” oath, she has also acted mercifully when it comes to death. This is one of those times, but the last time, she made sure the patient wanted it. Rufus probably would have done, but Claire couldn’t ask him that at the time, and that is going to weigh on her.

This chapter is just perfectly written. It shows that Claire wants to help and she hates the laws of the time, but she also knows that she can’t help. Rufus is going to die, and she needs to make it as painlessly as possible.