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Dune

Summary Book III
Summary Book III

Back in the north, Paul succeeds in riding the sandworm he called with his thumper. Stilgar suggests they stop and camp for the night. Both of them realize that the young men will want Paul to challenge Stilgar soon. As they discuss the issue, they spot a smuggler ornithopter flying overhead. Paul decides to teach the smugglers a lesson not to invade Fremen territory.

Analysis

During the two years between Book II and Book III, Paul establishes himself as a prophet, a powerful religious leader, to the Fremen. His combat skills are now legendary; for example, he has trained a squad of “death commandos” called Fedaykin, the most loyal and deadly soldiers on Arrakis. Alia has also caught the attention of the Fremen. Due to her unique experience in the womb, she is practically a reverend mother, just like Jessica. She is certainly one of the more disturbing creations in science fiction: a two-year-old who talks and thinks like an adult. Jessica accepts the young Alia almost as an equal, allowing her to attend and observe meetings of adults.

One important theme in this section is the idea that oppressive conditions, whether intentionally enforced or not, breed superior humans or, more specifically, superior warriors. The intentionally oppressive conditions of Salusa Secundus and the naturally difficult climate of Arrakis make life on both worlds a miserable experience, but ideal for breeding potent fighters. There is a significant difference between the two worlds: the Sardaukar are bred to fight on any world, whereas the Fremen know only how to fight on Arrakis. A Fremen would be beaten if he were to meet an opponent armed with a body shield. Thus, training and technological development must go hand–in–hand with the oppressive conditions that breed tough individuals.

Paul realizes that the Fremen know only about hardship and killing. The dream that Kynes offered to them, the dream of a lush garden world, was the goal that unified and strengthened the Fremen. A new dream is replacing the dream of turning Arrakis into Eden: the dream of Paul as a savior. Paul recognizes that this dream threatens to sweep far beyond Arrakis and throw the universe into a bloody jihad. The other result of breeding such warriors is that they require some sort of glue, such as a cause to rally around or support, so that they do not give in to despair. On Salusa Secundus, the driving factor is wealth and power; on Arrakis, it is the hope of a world without strife, and after the rise of Paul, it is a dream of a universe of nothing but strife.

The idea of replacement or recycling is also important to the Fremens and Bene Gesserit, particularly as a way of preserving both the ecology of the planet, as well as the history and beliefs of the people. Water is scarce on Arrakis, so the Fremen use the water from the dead corpses to replenish their wells. When Paul kills Jamis, the Fremen remove his water and place most of it in their special wells to transform Arrakis eventually into a lush Eden. The Fremen offer some of the water to Paul, suggesting that Paul is being reborn, or reincarnated, into the Fremen clan. Because Jamis’s water is recycled and shared with the world, his life force is living forever, since his water is providing life to others.

Similarly, the role of the reverend mother lives forever, even if the person in that role does not. Jessica replaces the dying woman as the reverend mother, and as a result, she gains the spirit, or life force, of all the other reverend mothers before her. The history of the Bene Gesserit people is preserved because of the reverend mothers’ ability to pass down their secrets and stories from generation to generation. Even names are recycled in Dune: Paul calls his son Leto after his dead father, Duke Leto. Paul seeks to preserve his father’s name and history, just as the Fremen people seek to preserve their land and their hope of a better future.