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Literature Study GuidesDuneBook 1 Sections 5 6 Summary

Dune | Study Guide

Frank Herbert

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Dune | Book 1, Sections 5–6 : Dune | Summary



Book 1, Section 5

A short time after Halleck leaves, Paul is visited by Dr. Yueh, his teacher, in the training room. Paul asks for lessons on the Fremen and the sandworms of Arrakis. Dr. Yueh tells him the Fremen's totally blue eyes are a result of saturation of the blood with melange and also notes they are fierce fighters. Throughout the conversation Yueh is conflicted. He has genuine regret about his treachery. He thinks: "What I do is done to be certain my Wanna no longer can be hurt by the Harkonnen beasts."

Dr. Yueh gives Paul an Orange Catholic Bible before he leaves. Reading a verse from it aloud, Paul feels a stirring of his "terrible purpose."

Book 1, Section 6

The duke, Paul's father, comes to the training room to see Paul. He notes that tomorrow they leave for Arrakis. He admits it will be dangerous but feels there is a chance to make their fortune there because of spice: "Arrakis with its spice is our avenue into CHOAM." CHOAM, he explains, trades all kinds of products, not just spice. He also explains that the Harkonnens have been stockpiling the valuable spice and will try to interrupt its production so House Atreides is blamed for any shortages. Others who have been stockpiling spice are also in on the plot—including the emperor.

Knowing the whole setup is a trap, the duke is hoping to leverage the Fremen to fight the Harkonnens and the emperor, maintaining power over spice production. He feels the Harkonnens underestimate the Fremen. Duke Leto also tells Paul he's been secretly trained as a Mentat from infancy. He asks Paul if he wants to continue in this training. Paul says he does.


As Paul stays put in the training room, more characters come and go in succession and are introduced to the reader. First, in Section 5, is Dr. Yueh, who was revealed in Section 2 to be an agent of Baron Harkonnen. Here, readers get a glimpse of his inner conflict. As with many of the mysteries introduced so far, clues to his motive for betraying the Atreides are left like bread crumbs for readers to follow, increasing suspense while making readers take a Sherlock Holmes–approach to what is going on behind the scenes. Dr. Yueh's wife is supposed to be deceased, yet he hopes to save her from further hurt by the Harkonnens. This suggests she is a captive of the Harkonnens, being used to secure Dr. Yueh's loyalty.

The theme of politics and religion is apparent in the interaction between Dr. Yueh and Paul. Dr. Yueh plans a political betrayal of House Atreides, yet he wants to introduce Paul to religion before he does so. However, the Orange Catholic Bible verse has an unanticipated effect on Paul, who feels the passage he reads touches on his terrible purpose. The passage reads, "Think you of the fact that a deaf person cannot hear. Then, what deafness may we not all possess? What senses do we lack that we cannot see and cannot hear another world all around us?" Part of Paul's terrible purpose, this verse suggests, is to develop senses he currently lacks.

Duke Leto is introduced in Section 6—a late entry for a character who has been spoken of a great deal. By the time readers meet the duke, they already know he is probably going to die, or at least be utterly ruined. Yet he seems like an intelligent, good man and a strategic thinker. He is aware he is walking into a trap and hopes to foil the Harkonnen/imperial plan to maximize their share of the very profitable spice trade. His function in the novel is arguably to show he is a good man so that both the loyalty of his men and Jessica's choice to give him a son make sense. The duke's situation also highlights the tension between individual choices and political machinations. The duke's downfall is seen to be inevitable due to the political currents against which he swims. However, even knowing all this, the duke does not surrender. This raises the question of whether social/political forces or individual choices dominate an individual's possible fates.

The Orange Catholic Bible is a religious text that came out of the Great Revolt, or Butlerian Jihad. Its main message is the important command that humanity not give control back to machines. Human reliance on computing machines rather than on human capacities is seen as a great evil that results in a loss of humanity.

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