Study Guide

Dune Book 2, Chapter 23

By Frank Herbert

Book 2, Chapter 23

  • Duncan has yet to return, and a sandstorm hit during the day, burying the stilltent. When it rains, it pours—sand, that is.
  • Paul takes a drink from his stillsuit. Feeling the tepid water, he decides this moment "truly [begins] his Arrakeen existence" (23.15). On the other hand, Jessica refuses to drink from her stillsuit, knowing it would require her to fully accept her Arrakeen fate. It's a lot of heavy emotion for a gulp of water.
  • Jessica closes her eyes and dreams. In her dream, she sees Leto's name written in the sand, but sand keeps filling it in before she has the time to rewrite it.
  • Jessica also hears Paul's voice talking about attacking his enemies with desert power, the spice, and the Fremen—just a nice little lullaby of death and vengeance.
  • Paul uses a static compaction tool to dig his way out of the tent. And, yes, we totally want one of those for our next beach vacation.
  • Jessica follows him. Outside, the stars look like "weapons aimed down at her" (23.39), and she hears the sound of birds. Now, birds might not seem too terrifying, but let's not forget the dinner conversation regarding birds from Chapter 16.
  • Duncan told Paul that if he were captured, he would only be able to hold out for a certain amount of time. Since that time has passed as of… right… now, Paul believes they should be on the move.
  • Jessica realizes she lives in her son's "orbit" now (23.52). In other words, her life will revolve around him. Come on, Jessica, that can't be healthy. You at least need a hobby. Might we suggest a dream journal to keep track of all those freaky nighttime musings?
  • In the distance, Jessica and Paul see pillars of fire, and Jessica recognizes the lights as jet flares and lasguns. The Harkonnens are carpet bombing the area, killing everything that moves in the hopes of exterminating the Atreides.
  • Paul and Jessica head for the south and seek cover amongst the rocks. Just as they make their move, the shapes of ornithopters fly above them.