Study Guide

Dune Book II, Chapter 27

By Frank Herbert

Book II, Chapter 27

  • Paul and Jessica safely exit the sandstorm, but their ornithopter is badly damaged.
  • Paul lands the ornithopter, and the two make a break for a rocky area.
  • The ornithopter's landing attracted a worm, which promptly destroys the vehicle. Thankfully, this means all the evidence of Jessica and Paul's survival has been neatly cleaned away. They can now live more safely as officially dead people.
  • Paul is astonished by the size of the worms in the south desert. They're larger than a Guild spaceship.
  • The two fugitives prepare to travel the ridge. Paul remembers dreaming of this place before. Only in his dream, Duncan Idaho was with them.
  • As they travel, Jessica notes the "disjointed rhythm" of crossing the "broken land" (27.79). Jeez, even taking a nature walk across Arrakis is difficult.
  • Paul and Jessica stop to take two energy capsules and drink their water. As Paul tells his mother, "Axiom: the best place to converse your water is in your body" (27.96).
  • Dawn will come soon. Paul and Jessica will need to cross the open desert to continue, but Paul says they'll rest in the shadows of the crevasses during the day.
  • After a dangerous descent, Paul and Jessica come to sandslopes they need to shimmy down.
  • Paul slides neatly down, but when he reaches the bottom, he realizes Jessica was caught in a sandslide.
  • Using his awesome memory rewind ability, Paul discerns where his mother sank, climbs up, and beings to dig.
  • Paul finds Jessica in a state of Bindu suspension, a type of deep meditation that slows down the body's metabolism to near death. Again, the Bene Gesserit get all the good powers.
  • When Jessica exits the suspension, she's relieved, but Paul, eh, not so much. Seems he lost their survival pack in the sand, and all their Luna bars were in there.
  • All Paul has now is a knife, paracompass, and binoculars.
  • Paul starts to despair, but Jessica scolds him, saying this is not how he was taught. Paul sets his mind to the problem at hand, wondering if they could just immobilize a small section of sand, because then they could….
  • Light bulb moment. Paul remembers that spice is highly alkaline, while the paracompass's power pack is acid-base. Awesome fun fact there, Paul, but how does that help?
  • Paul grabs some spice and mixes it into the power pack. When he adds water, the mixture foams.
  • Jessica and Paul being to dig, using the foam to prevent the sand from sliding back in on itself.
  • Paul and Jessica manage to unearth the pack's strap right when they run out of foam.
  • But Paul's the man with the plan now. He has Jessica hold on to the strap. She does so for dear life, quite literally.
  • The foam breaks down, and the sand reburies Jessica up to her waist. Together, Jessica and Paul manage to wiggle both Jessica and the pack free.
  • While setting up camp, Paul takes in the surrounding area. Anchor hooks tell him someone has camped there before and greenery in the distance suggests the Fremen might be nearby.
  • Jessica thinks back to Caladan, and the planet now lost to her.
  • As the sun rises, Paul and Jessica see another gigantic worm. Again, they are struck by its majesty.
  • Jessica tells Paul that they'll continue with his lessons after a rest. Paul initially suggests that they don't have time for such things, but she reminds him that he panicked today. He must learn control.
  • Paul stares at his own hand and notices how inadequate it appears when compared to a sandworm.