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Frank Herbert


Important Quotations Explained

Important Quotations Explained

Important Quotations Explained

Important Quotations Explained

Important Quotations Explained

Important Quotations Explained

“Religion and law among our masses must be one and the same,” his father said. “An act of disobedience must be a sin and require religious penalties. This will have the dual benefit of bringing both greater obedience and greater bravery. We must depend not so much on the bravery of individuals, you see, as upon the bravery of a whole population.”

Kynes’s dead father says these words in Book II, when Kynes is on the verge of death and hallucinating in the desert of Arrakis. Kynes’s father states that religion’s purpose is to steer a relatively ignorant impressionable population toward a particular goal. Kynes’s father used religion to help steer the Fremen, the indigent population of Arrakis, a people yearning for a leader. Kynes and his father used religion to earn the loyalty of the fierce Fremen with the purpose of transforming Arrakis from a desert world into a green paradise. In addition, they seek to use religion to end the crime that accompanies the illicit trade of melange.

He found that he no longer could hate the Bene Gesserit or the Emperor or even the Harkonnens. They were all caught up in the need of their race to renew its scattered inheritance, to cross and mingle and infuse their bloodlines in a great new pooling of genes. And the race knew only one sure way for this—the ancient way . . . jihad.

This passage from the end of Book I occurs when Paul and his mother, Jessica, are hiding in a tent, and she explains the forces behind what Paul calls his “terrible purpose.” The Bene Gesserit, a group of women with superhuman powers, create the Kwisatz Haderach, a person who provides the “shortening of the way” toward reinvigorating humanity’s stagnant gene pool. Paul realizes that the only way the human race knows how to diversify its gene pool is through bloody, fanatical warfare. The creation of a Kwisatz Haderach to help cross and mingle the bloodlines is ironic. After tens of thousands of years of technological development and human evolution, humans are still influenced first and foremost by the most primary human instinct: sex drive.

“We will treat your comrade with the same reverence we treat our own,” the Fremen said. “This is the bond of water. We know the rites. A man’s flesh is his own; the water belongs to the tribe.”

In the beginning of Book II, a member of the Fremen speaks these words to Thufir Hawat, a Mentat who served three generations of Atreides until he reluctantly joined the Harkonnens. Hawat allows the Fremen to take the dead body of one of his soldiers to be rendered down for water. For the Fremen, water is more important than blood. Alliances are secured with the “bond of water” rather than with blood oaths. Fremen remove the water from a body once it dies. They keep the water for the tribe, or they store it in wells, where it will eventually be used to alter the climate of Arrakis. Hawat, by allowing his own men’s corpses to be tapped for precious water, creates a strong bond between his men and the Fremen.

“A duke’s son must know about poisons. . . . Here’s a new one for you: the gom jabbar. It kills only animals.”

Reverend Mother Mohiam speaks these words in the beginning of Book I. Her statement reveals the distinction the novel makes between humans and animals. The Bene Gesserit believe that animals react only by instinct, their base emotions, and drives. They also believe that humans can use their self-awareness to combat instinct. A Mentat, for example, uses only logic and removes all emotional or irrational ideas from his decision-making process. Mother Mohiam tests whether Paul is an animal or a human being by putting his hand in a box that causes pain. Paul passes the test by resisting the urge to pull his hand away from the pain. He rationalizes that he will be poisoned if he moves his hand, and thus, he fights his instinctual drive to run from the pain. This test is the first of many that Paul must survive to become the Kwisatz Haderach.

The drug had him again and he thought: So many times you’ve given me comfort and forgetfulness. He felt anew the hyperillumination with its high-relief imagery of time, sensed his future becoming memories—the tender indignities of physical love, the sharing and communion of selves, the softness and the violence.

This passage occurs in Book II after Paul takes the drug melange, which significantly changes him. His senses become more acute, and he is suddenly able to “see through time.” Paul can now see infinite possibilities in future events, and he realizes his actions will cause a jihad (holy war) in the universe. Paul is also more sensitive to physical contact, particularly when he is with his love, Chani. Paul’s consumption of the melange is an important turning point in his development as a Kwisatz Haderach. Paul becomes dependent on the melange to see into the future, and the addictive substance in turn begins to shackle him. Paul needs the melange to live and to fulfill his role as a Kwisatz Haderach. The French word mélange means a mixture of diverse elements. Paul’s role as a Kwisatz Haderach is to mix the elements of the human gene pool—he needs melange to execute the mixture of gene pools that will ultimately save his species.

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