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Dune | Study Guide

Frank Herbert

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Dune | Book 2, Sections 27–28 : Muad'Dib | Summary

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Summary

Book 2, Section 27

Aided by his heightened awareness Paul is able to pilot the aircraft through the storm and land. The two make a run for the rocks, knowing a worm will soon come in response to the landing. And one does come—pulling the aircraft quickly under the sand. Paul and Jessica make their way through a channel in the rocks and soon come to an expanse of sand they must cross. They decide to use a "thumper" from the Fremkit to distract any worms in the area because worms seem to be attracted to rhythmic sounds. But a sudden sand-slide buries Jessica and their supplies, and Paul must first dig out his mother and then devise a way of freeing their packs from the sand. Working together they rescue their supplies and set up a tent.

Book 2, Section 28

Gurney Halleck meets with smuggler Staban Tuek, whose father has been killed by the Harkonnens. Tuek fills Halleck in on the latest news: Hawat has been captured by the Harkonnens, Duke Leto is dead, Rabban is to be put in charge of Arrakis, and Jessica and Paul are assumed dead. He also offers to let Halleck and his men work for the smugglers. Halleck says he has a personal score to settle with Rabban. Tuek advises him, "Move slowly and the day of your revenge will come." Halleck considers joining up with the Fremen instead but finally accepts Tuek's offer.

Analysis

As Paul flies into the sandstorm he uses the Bene Gesserit litany against fear (end of Section 25 and continuing in Section 27). By flying directly into the sand, he faces it and permits it to pass over him, just as the litany says: "I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me." The litany becomes more concrete, more necessary, and more powerful as it becomes tied to a natural phenomenon that behaves as fear behaves, overwhelming and smothering.

There is a great deal to unpack here. One important aspect of Paul's situation is that it is a new kind of crisis. All of the difficulties he has faced up until now are ones he was somewhat prepared for as a duke's son. His training included preparation for assassination attempts, understanding of political intrigue, and the like. Even the Harkonnen attack was predictable, and Harkonnen duplicity is well-known. In the sandstorm he faces a new kind of crisis. Yet even as he faces this unknown, he gains a new focus and awareness that help him survive. This demonstrates adaptability—a willingness to accept change and, by submitting, survive. This adaptability to change is in tension with another human trait explored in the novel—the desire to control and direct change.

This tension can also be seen in the way Paul's heightened sense gives him greater control over the aircraft; however, in other ways he feels a lack of control. He has a sense that the litany has some magical power—the words of the litany have "power of their own." And he realizes, with some concern, one of his premonitions was not entirely accurate. At least, it does not match the reality he experiences once he actually reaches that future: "He had seen this desert. But the set of the vision had been subtly different ... Idaho was with us in the vision, he remembered. But now Idaho is dead." So while humans can have certain kinds of control, and some humans more than others, other things are beyond their control. This is an ecological message about the interaction between humans and nature; it will be revisited repeatedly as the setting of the novel moves to the desert.

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