Literature Study GuidesDuneBook 1 Sections 21 22 Summary

Dune | Study Guide

Frank Herbert

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Dune | Book 1, Sections 21–22 : Dune | Summary



Book 1, Section 21

Baron Harkonnen observes the city of Arrakeen from his command post as explosives set by his soldiers finish off the duke's army. Piter enters and announces the Sardaukar have arrived with the duke. Internally, the baron plots to put Piter in charge of Arrakis temporarily, until Feyd-Rautha can take over. Externally, the baron asks for Yueh to be brought in for his "reward." Yueh can tell from the baron's manner that his wife is dead. The baron acknowledges the bargain was to "free her from the agony and permit [Dr. Yueh] to join her." Then he motions to Piter, who immediately kills Yueh.

The duke is brought in. The baron and Piter discuss Paul and Jessica's possible escape, as the two guards were found dead and there is no trace of the captives. The duke takes heart from this news, and when the baron bends over him to gloat, he bites down and breathes out the poison. It kills Piter and the other men in the room, but the baron manages to escape. The baron is frustrated that his plans must change now that Piter is dead. And he's angry he may look weak in the eyes of the emperor.

Book 1, Section 22

Paul and Jessica have found a "Fremkit"—a pack with Fremen equipment for desert survival—in the Harkonnen vehicle. They have been rescued by none other than Duncan Idaho and have read Yueh's final note left for them along with the ducal signet ring. It is clear Yueh has arranged their escape, even as he betrayed them, and that he hated the Harkonnens even as he worked for the baron.

Paul feels a heightened awareness and a renewed sense of his "terrible purpose." His mental state allows him to deduce that the Fremen pay the Spacing Guild "for privacy" and thus there must be some important secrets in Fremen activities: "depths no one suspected." Jessica thinks of the daughter she carries unbeknownst to anyone but herself. Via radio, they receive news of Harkonnen victory.

Paul tells Jessica that the duke never really suspected her and regretted not making her his wife. As she grieves, Paul's mind continues to whirl with future probabilities. He sees many possible paths stretching out in all directions and realizes this awareness of future probabilities is akin to the sense that guildsmen use to navigate through space. Yet it is not exactly the same: "I have another kind of sight. I see another kind of terrain," he thinks.

As Paul's mind spirals out of control he realizes there is a great deal of spice in the air, and it is an intake of this spice (on top of his earlier training) that has tipped his mind into this new awareness. He reveals some of the future to his mother and tells her she is actually Baron Harkonnen's daughter.


The final sections of Book 1 conclude the life of Duke Leto Atreides and his short-lived rule of Arrakis. The double-cross by Dr. Yueh provides some drama to what is otherwise a predictable conclusion. It demonstrates a flaw in Baron Harkonnen's overall strategy: lack of true loyalty. Because he does not win people's loyalty but rather compels it through blackmail, torture, fear, and deception, he is surrounded by people who are one step away from turning on him. His overconfidence in his mastery of Dr. Yueh blinds him to the possibility the man will double-cross him.

The effects of Dr. Yueh's plan-within-a-plan are far-ranging, even though his main goal—to kill the baron—was unsuccessful. Paul and Jessica do escape and live to fight another day. The exposure to the desert environment, where spice is plentiful, triggers a change in Paul that sets in motion a whole string of future events. The actions of individuals matter in the Dune universe, even in the midst of the tides of history and the future. Cause and effect are the building blocks of reality, and those trained to see these building blocks—Mentats, for example—can see past causes and predict future effects. Some of what Paul is experiencing as he reels under the spice effect is based on his training as a potential Mentat, heightened to an extreme. Many of his revelations are presented as deductions and calculations of probabilities. But he also goes beyond this, as well, as his awareness begins to transcend time. This timeless state gives him additional data for his analysis. One of the things he deduces, of course, is that Jessica's secret ancestry is Harkonnen.

Herbert loves to foreshadow events in his novel, if it can be called foreshadowing, by just describing what will happen. So as Book 1 ends, Paul sees into the future and describes several things that will happen in the next book. For example, Lady Jessica will bear a daughter on Arrakis, they will live among the Fremen, and they will have to rely on the planted stories of the Missionaria Protectiva.

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