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Literature Study GuidesDuneBook 1 Sections 19 20 Summary

Dune | Study Guide

Frank Herbert

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Dune | Book 1, Sections 19–20 : Dune | Summary



Book 1, Section 19

Jessica wakes in the dark, bound and gagged. When she opens her eyes, the baron and Piter are there. The baron gives Piter a choice—he can either have Jessica or be in charge of Arrakis. Piter chooses the political power. Jessica, however, can tell the baron is lying. She also deduces that the emperor is involved in the plot and realizes this means Leto is likely dead.

Jessica and Paul (who is bound but not gagged) are taken into the desert by two Harkonnen soldiers—one of whom is deaf so he cannot be controlled by the Voice. But Paul has had some training in the Voice, and after a few tries, is able to use it to compel the hearing guard to un-gag Jessica. Using her superior abilities Jessica manipulates the guards into believing they should fight over her, and in the resulting fight one of the guards is incapacitated. Seeing his chance, Paul attacks and overpowers the other guard. Suddenly another aircraft appears, and Paul and Jessica make a run for it.

Book 1, Section 20

Dr. Yueh has just given the duke the poison tooth. Harkonnen forces have been deployed and are securing the Atreides capital for the baron. A Sardaukar soldier dressed as a Harkonnen approaches Yueh and asks about the ducal signet ring, which is missing from the duke's finger. Yueh makes up an excuse, because he has taken the ring and intends to hide it in the vehicle the Harkonnens will use to transport Paul and Jessica into the desert.


The baron's plan has mostly worked. The duke is captured and Harkonnen forces, aided by disguised Sardaukar, are taking over the planet. Yet these sections show the extent to which there are plots within plots and betrayals within betrayals in this novel. The baron has promised Piter he can oversee the Duchy of Arrakis, but he is lying and intends to renege on that promise. Dr. Yueh, whom the baron believes is safely bought by promises to end the torment of Wanna, now shows he has made his own careful plan of vengeance, preparing the poison tooth and setting events in motion that will allow Paul and Jessica to have a chance at escape.

The theme of power and control is still a dominant theme in these sections, as explored through Piter and through Jessica and Paul's escape. Piter gives up his desire for Jessica for the promise of power over an entire planet's wealth. Paul's use of the Voice and Jessica's use of other, subtler means to secure their freedom continue to show how the training of the Bene Gesserit gives immense power to those who can master it. Interestingly, here readers learn that the Voice gives people power over other individuals because it is tailored to an individual's own senses. All Bene Gesserit abilities rest on being able to observe people in minute detail, or "register" them, at which point their weak points are known. As Paul struggles to employ the Voice, Jessica critiques him, noting it should be pitched lower in order to be effective. The frequency of the sound is part of what gives the Voice its power.

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