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Dune

Summary Book III (continued)
Summary Book III (continued)

Analysis

The events of this section demonstrate not only that Paul is at the center of the novel’s dramatic action but also that he completely controls the action. For example, Paul welcomes back his old master, Gurney Halleck, suggesting a role reversal, as if Paul is now the mentor and Halleck is the inexperienced youth. Additionally, Paul allows the Sardaukar to escape, which shows how confident he is in his own prowess and power. He feels that the Sardaukar enemies are so weak that he does not need to kill them right away. Rather, he can allow them to spread the word to the emperor about his strength and the force of the Fremen. The revelation that Paul is the Kwisatz Haderach further consolidates his potency and establishes him as a prophetic, religious leader of not just the Fremen but of the whole universe.

One way to understand Jessica’s memories of previous reverend mothers is by using the theory of the “collective unconscious,” or “racial memory,” introduced by the psychologist Carl Jung in the first half of the twentieth century. Jung suggested that all humans share very vague, broad memories from the earliest times of human evolution, when humans lived in the same area. Jung’s theory might account for why many different languages have very similar words for basic concepts such as mother and father. Jung thought that more specific memories might be passed genetically from one human to his or her offspring. This is a very broad interpretation of Jung’s theories, and it is important to note that few theorists now support these ideas. In the early 1960s, however, Jung was still somewhat in vogue, and it is possible that his theories were an inspiration for Jessica’s “racial memory” of her Bene Gesserit ancestors. That Jessica is much more aware of those memories than others is due to the effects of the spice drug.

Paul’s ability to predict the future seems more plausible, though less realistic than Jessica’s memories of reverend mothers. While it is unclear exactly how and why Paul is able to see the future whenever he consumes too much spice, it is conceivable that it is due to a heightened ability for calculation. Like a Mentat, Paul simply calculates an amazing number of variables and decides which events have the highest probability. However, this theory does not account for things that Paul could not possibly know, such as Feyd-Rautha’s name or that Alia would come to be known as St. Alia of–the–Knife. In Jessica’s and Paul’s cases, it is probably easier to accept the idea that they have magical powers, something spiritually or supernaturally based rather than based in science. However, this detracts somewhat from Dune’s status as a work of science fiction and makes it more a work of fantasy.

Paul’s differentiation along gender lines of the forces that give from the forces that take speaks to the intricate balance between women and men in Dune. Each gender is like a force in the universe, and neither has total power over the other since neither can face the other without losing something of itself. Each force, like each gender, cannot exist without the other, opposing force. Paul, however, exists above this interplay of forces. As the Kwisatz Haderach, he is the only one who can balance the logical and the intuitive, and the male and the female forces. For example, Paul can use the Voice to convince the Fremen to help fight the Sardaukar, but he must also win them over using logic. Paul’s mastery of both the female and male forces means that he can become more powerful than any other human being.