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Literature Study GuidesDuneBook 2 Sections 33 34 Summary

Dune | Study Guide

Frank Herbert

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Dune | Book 2, Sections 33–34 : Muad'Dib | Summary



Book 2, Section 33

Jamis, a man Paul had incapacitated during the initial encounter with Stilgar's band, challenges Jessica. He demands to fight her "champion," Paul, in single combat. He gets his wish. Paul uses the Bene Gesserit litany against fear to calm himself as they prepare to fight with crysknives. The fight is to the death, but Paul kills Jamis only reluctantly. The Fremen give Paul two new names: Usul, to be used among the group, and Paul-Muad'Dib, to be used openly. Jessica remembers Muad'Dib is the name Paul had foreseen when he glimpsed the future. Paul recalls that some of the futures he saw included jihad: "fanatic legions following the green and black banner of the Atreides, pillaging and burning across the universe in the name of their prophet Muad'Dib." He finds these images of jihad disturbing.

Book 2, Section 34

At sunset Stilgar's company has a funeral ceremony for Jamis, which includes the "weighing of the water" rendered from his body as well as the distribution of his worldly goods. When Jamis's belongings are ceremonially divvied up, Paul is moved to tears. The Fremen are astonished, saying, "Usul gives moisture to the dead!" They gather around him to touch the tears.

According to Fremen custom, water won in combat belongs to the victor. So at the end of the funeral ceremony Paul is given metal rings—"watercounters"—representing the exact amount of moisture rendered from the dead flesh. The funeral procession conveys the water from Jamis's body to a chamber containing a deep pool of water. The water is added to the pool. Stilgar tells Jessica the Fremen have thousands of such hidden pools. They know just how much they need to accomplish the vision of Liet-Kynes: "melting lenses at the poles, with lakes in the temperate zones, and only the deep desert for the maker and his spice."

They leave the chamber. Chani speaks the words of Paul's dream: "Tell me about the waters of your birthworld, Paul-Muad'Dib." Later, sitting in the dark, Paul realizes his mother is his enemy: "She does not know it, but she is. She is bringing the jihad."


The conflict with Jamis shows just how much Paul and Jessica, despite having won over Stilgar, are still outsiders among the Fremen. Their position is complicated by the way Jessica has had to play into prophecies she knows have been artificially inserted into the culture for the express purpose of a Bene Gesserit such as herself using them. Jessica is walking a little blindly into the role, as the stories are changed by the cultures in which they grow. She wants to challenge Jamis herself, but she lets him take the lead, trusting that he is acting in accordance with a greater familiarity with the legends than she is. She remains passive and allows the combat to go on, even though it is a risk, because she sees a greater risk in interfering: "I can take him, Jessica thought, but that might conflict with the way they interpret the legend."

The funeral also brings their outsider status home, as Paul sheds tears and the Fremen react with amazement. Both Paul and Jessica are shocked, even though they understand the value of stillsuits and water monitoring and rationing. They are unprepared for how thoroughly the water discipline shapes the lives—and deaths—of the Fremen. "Nothing on this planet had so forcefully hammered into [Jessica] the ultimate value of water."

The funeral rites also reveal the full reason behind the Fremen "water discipline." As Jamis's water is added to the hidden and sealed-off cistern of Fremen water, Stilgar explains. Liet-Kynes had given the Fremen a dream of transforming Arrakis into a lush "paradise" with ample water, setting aside just a portion of desert for the worms and their spice. Being a scientist, Liet-Kynes had determined exactly how much water would be needed to trigger an ecological change of that magnitude. So the purpose of the water discipline is not just for survival, but the power to control the planet's ecology. The stakes are high, and so the discipline is tight—so tight that Liet-Kynes had injected religious fervor into the dream to give it greater chances of success.

Despite the way religion is shown to be useful for gaining power and control, it is clear religion can also do the opposite. Jessica wonders "at the way the Missionaria Protectiva's work had been twisted on this planet." She recognizes there is an organic, uncontrollable way people and cultures change stories, even when general themes remain the same. And Paul continues to see glimpses of the future in which a "wild jihad" sweeps the galaxy with a wave of violence and slaughter. There is a way they are in control of events and a way they are swept up in events at the same time. Even Jessica's decision to bear a son and train him in the ways of a Bene Gesserit and Mentat is a part of the path toward "wild jihad": "She is bringing the jihad. She bore me; she trained me." Once again: control versus loss of control; individual choice versus destiny.

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