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Literature Study GuidesDuneBook 2 Sections 31 32 Summary

Dune | Study Guide

Frank Herbert

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Dune | Book 2, Sections 31–32 : Muad'Dib | Summary



Book 2, Section 31

Paul and Jessica are surrounded by the band of Fremen, but their leader turns out to be Stilgar, already known to Paul. Stilgar decides to capture rather than kill Paul, because Paul may be the Lisan al-Gaib. Also, Liet-Kynes had instructed them to find the duke's son. But Stilgar intends to kill Jessica, not seeing any advantage in keeping her alive.

Reacting quickly to the danger, Jessica attacks. She and Paul disarm a few men and Paul hides while Jessica puts Stilgar in a choke hold. Stilgar concludes she is worth 10 times her weight in water because of her fighting ability. He calls off his soldiers, including a young woman named Chani who is stealthily approaching Paul's hiding place. She agrees to teach them her fighting skills, which they call the "weirding way," in exchange for sanctuary from the Harkonnens. And when Stilgar's men find out she is Bene Gesserit, they begin to believe she and Paul are the fulfillment of prophecies. Jessica again uses her abilities and her knowledge of the Missionaria Protectiva stories to encourage this belief.

As Paul emerges from his hiding place he comes face to face with Chani. He recognizes her face as the one from his dreams back on Caladan and feels "a touch of destiny."

Book 2, Section 32

Paul and Jessica travel with Stilgar's band toward Sietch Tabr. As they rest in a cave along the way, Stilgar reveals to Jessica that the Fremen, according to Liet-Kynes's command, bribe the guild with payments of spice in order to make sure satellites do not show what they are secretly doing to the surface. He tells her they are working slowly toward Liet-Kynes's vision: "Open water and tall green plants and people walking freely without stillsuits." Jessica also learns on the journey the Fremen name for sandworms is "maker" and that Fremen ride on the backs of worms.

Stilgar suggests Jessica might become a religious leader, a Sayyadina, among the Fremen. But he needs to be convinced she is the one from the prophecy. She taps into her Bene Gesserit training and speaks a prayer from the Missionaria Protectiva legends. He is convinced.

As this occurs, Paul, who has eaten food with high spice content, feels his mind move into "prescient awareness." He again experiences "the one-eyed vision of the past, the one-eyed vision of the present and the one-eyed vision of the future ... that permitted him to see time-become-space." He suddenly realizes that the present moment, in the cave, is a crucial turning point in time, and what happens here determines which of many paths the future will take. He also sees his own dead body "with blood flowing from a gaping knife wound" along many of those future paths.


From these sections it becomes clear the Fremen are ruthlessly practical. They do not waste. Stilgar first wants to kill Jessica because she is worth more to them as water than as another human who needs water. To the Fremen, being alive is not its own reason to continue living; each person must contribute. This practical approach extends to the way people rise up into positions of authority. Leaders earn their authority; they are not given it, as in the imperial system of houses and inheritance. The downside of a system of earned authority is that anyone can lose their authority if they are bested in combat by another. Because Jessica bested Stilgar in hand-to-hand combat, he tells her to there will be some Fremen who will expect her to challenge him formally for leadership. However, he points out the Fremen will not follow her because she is unversed in their ways. "It is the way we choose among us for a leader," he tells her. "The leader is the one who is strongest, the one who brings water and security." So Jessica is in a difficult position; she has earned authority in some ways (fighting) but not in others (desert survival).

Stilgar obviously thinks a great deal about what makes a leader. His perspective is somewhat different from those used to the imperial system of inherited leadership. In that system, leadership means getting people to act in a certain way. So the tools can be fear, love, or anything in between, because the results are what matter. But to Stilgar, "the needs of the people" is what makes a person a leader. If the needs of the people change, a new leader might be required. He notes that even justice is not always what people need. Right now, he says, the main need of the Fremen people is time to "grow and prosper." Stilgar also maintains that regardless of other needs, people need a leader. "A leader, you see, is one of the things that distinguishes a mob from a people. He maintains the distinction of individuals. Too few individuals, and a people reverts to a mob." So the leader grows out of the people's need, and people need a leader to become a civilization.

In an interesting comment on the roles of men and women in this novel, Stilgar offers two other ways Jessica might integrate into Fremen society. One is to become his wife; the other is to become a Sayyadina, a religious woman. It is worth noting that women occupy fairly traditional roles in Dune, and the social structure is patriarchal. While the Bene Gesserit exert power, even they are limited to their female ancestral memories, while the Kwisatz Haderach will be able to see down both male and female lines into the past. And while Chani, whom Paul meets in these sections, is a fearless fighter, she fills a far more traditional role as the plot progresses.
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