Literature Study GuidesDuneBook 2 Sections 29 30 Summary

Dune | Study Guide

Frank Herbert

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Dune | Book 2, Sections 29–30 : Muad'Dib | Summary



Book 2, Section 29

In the late afternoon Paul and Jessica use binoculars to survey the landscape. They see some desert plants and plan to make for them, hoping a Fremen outpost is nearby. As the sun sets, they set the thumper and walk without rhythm across the sand to imitate the natural sounds of desert creatures. They reach a rocky area they think will be a Fremen habitation, or sietch. Just as they reach safety, a huge worm emerges nearby, its mouth gaping. A strong scent of spice fills the air. Suddenly Paul feels as if he has fallen "into the trough of a wave where the future was invisible." He thinks "What has the worm to do with the spice, melange?" as he remembers Liet-Kynes's strange words that seemed to connect worms and spice.

They hear another thumper in the distance, and the worm suddenly moves away towards the sound. It seems as if someone—maybe the Fremen—had called a worm. But why? Paul has a vision that the answer involves the "telescoping barbed sticks in their packs—the 'maker hooks.'" They find a shallow set of stairs carved into the rock and follow it. Reaching the top, they look out over an oasis filled with desert plants. Suddenly they are surprised by a band of Fremen who threaten to take their water—and maybe their lives.

Book 2, Section 30

Captured by Harkonnens and abandoned in the desert without a stillsuit, Liet-Kynes struggles to survive. He recognizes the particular smell of a "pre-spice mass" under the sand and knows it will soon explode. As his delirium grows he hallucinates his father—also a planetologist—lecturing about transforming Arrakis into a more fertile planet with abundant water. As carrion birds begin to circle overhead, he thinks of the process going on below him. The "leathery half-plant, half-animal little makers" are "beginning to lose some of their water into the mass." Then, when the mass collects "enough water and organic matter from the little makers," it grows quickly, generating a large amount of carbon dioxide that will burst, exchanging "what had been formed deep in the sand for whatever lay on the surface." As this process plays out, Liet-Kynes is sucked under the sand and dies.


Continuing to explore the tension and interactions between nature and humanity, these sections focus on the sandworms, their dislike of the artificial and mechanical, and their relationship with spice. The worms attack human technology on the planet's surface, such as spice crawlers, landed aircraft, and shields. This is why using shields in worm territory is so dangerous. Worms are a force of nature aggressively seeking out and destroying humans and their attempts to conquer or control. Even their larval forms (the "little makers") are hazardous, causing explosive reactions that endanger any human present—here, Liet-Kynes.

In many ways the sandworms are not just part of nature; they symbolize its wildness, which resists human control. Liet-Kynes, of course, worked for and dreamed of remaking Arrakis into a place more habitable for humans. His death is a result of a natural process and is attended closely by carrion birds waiting to perform their part in the natural circle of life. Nature rebukes the human who tried to exert control over its processes. In the case of Liet-Kynes, nature wins.

However, humans have their own weapons in the fight for control. They are smart problem-solvers—highly adaptable—and this gives them an edge that makes up, in part, for their physical weakness. For example the Bene Gesserit exert control over the sweeping force of human reproduction by first exerting control over their own bodies, then over those around them. The mental and physical discipline humans are capable of gives them power to confront and sometimes master the forces of nature. In these sections the use of "thumpers" is another example. The thumpers demonstrate a deliberate use of the worms' mindless desire to destroy all things artificial to cause the worms to act in a way convenient for humans. The method of walking arhythmically across the sand is an example of the human ability to observe natural conditions and use them to their advantage.

Another weapon humans have in their fight for control is the power of religion. Liet-Kynes's hallucination of his father tells him: "Religion and law among our masses must be one and the same ... An act of disobedience must be a sin and require religious penalties." This, he says, will harness the collective bravery of a whole people, not just one by one but as a unified group. This sum-greater-than-its-parts argument will become clearer as the novel explores how it applies to Fremen culture.

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