Analysis

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.

See Important Quotations Explained

One of the most important motifs in Dune is Paul’s concern that he will be the instigator of a jihad, or holy war, led by the Fremen under his banner. Paul worries that the jihad will spread across the universe as the Fremen and the House of Atreides kill everyone in their path. The reason for this jihad, Paul believes, is that it will reinvigorate the human gene pool, which has been stagnant during the last 10,000 years. Paul wants to resist these possible futures, and he will spend the rest of the novel analyzing his options in every situation, trying to predict their outcome and attempting to take the course that will prevent such a long and bloody war. The jihad is the embodiment of Paul’s sense of “terrible purpose,” a cursed fate that he feels he must resist.

Another important motif in this section is water. On Arrakis, water is much more important than blood because blood cannot exist without water. For example, instead of mourning the loss of lives, Fremen quickly treat the Atreides corpses so they can extract their water; the Fremen ask for the “water bond” with Hawat, which is the equivalent of a blood oath. Now in a situation in which water is a scarce resource, Jessica finds herself thinking more in terms of conserving water. Spitting and crying are considered noble acts because they involve a sacrifice of precious water.

The meeting between Paul and Kynes is a key plot development. Paul wins the loyalty of the Fremen’s secular and religious leader by offering his own unmitigated loyalty. As a result, he recognizes the importance of the Fremen to “desert power,” which is required to maintain control of the planet Arrakis. However, Paul is earnest in his offer of help and in his desire to make Arrakis into an Eden full of plants and animals. Paul’s alliance with the Fremen is partially made out of political necessity—without the Fremen’s help, the Atreides are lost—but also because he believes in and supports the Fremen’s desire to change their world for the better. The meeting scene is also important because it sets up Paul to replace the godlike Kynes as the spiritual and military leader of the Fremen, following the Harkonnens’ murder of Kynes.