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A Literary Research Paper Example: Dune by Frank Herbert

7 pages
1890 words
University of Richmond
Type of paper: 
Research paper
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Dune is a science fiction novel published in 1965. It was written by Frank Herbert- a critically acclaimed and commercially successful American science fiction author, tells the story of young Paul Atreides as he and his family accept control of the desert planet Arrakis, the only source of the oracular spice melange (Christensen 161). Melange, as described in the novel, is the most valuable substance in the universe. The novel was influenced by Herberts five sequels namely Dune Messiah, God Emperor of Dune, Children of Dune, and Heretics of Dune. Herberts work inspired David Lynchs 1984 film adaptation and other series of sequels and prequels co-written by Kevin Anderson. The novel looks at various political interactions, ecology, religion, technology, and human emotion as various empires attempts to outdo each other to have control of Arrakis. Herbert used the novel to address the politics of humanity as it considers the way humans and institutions might change over time. The novel worm the Hugo Award in 1966 and is currently named as the world's bestselling science fiction novel. The genre of the book can be acknowledged as science fiction.

Frank Herbert came up with the historical universe of Dune to set up and define the various structures and institutions of the Imperium which in turn underpin major themes in the novel as it also provides a historical platform where the protagonist Paul and his actions can be assessed (Lorenzo 311). Frank has the belief that history is a linear and progressive process that has logical and understandable effects. This is well represented by the Butlerian Jihad which suggests that it was not the only one that happened at that specific point and we know that Pauline himself anticipated a campaign coming in the greater part of his precognitive dreams. On the planet Arrakis, the Fremen battle against the cold condition. Indeed, even with an abundance of innovation encouraging survival in such unforgiving conditions, life on Arrakis is unstable, yet the Fremen look past negligible survival and plan to change their whole planet, a plan that would take ages of work before it happened as intended. Through their eagerness to battle for a more prominent course, the Fremen might be viewed as human. As Lorenzo DiTommaso places it in this exposition "History and Historical Effect in Frank Herbert's 'Hill'": "Arrakis is the gom Jabbar of the Fremen" (318).

Herbert also explores the inequality associated with all human beings. The inequality in the novel stems from the Jihad's general and insidious effects upon each level of imperial society, the hierarchical military systems and the dissimilar systems of training received by various groups within the empire (McDowell). Some lives have a lessened value under the hierarchical systems of the Imperial society while the value of others is greater. The historical leitmotifs of inequality and feud hierarchism are distinct to Herbert.

Religion illustrates a source of power and comfort throughout the novel. Paul and Keynes go after the same goals, but the latter uses his religious power over the Fremen. He assumes the role of the Messiah as he gains control over the entire Imperium.

Gender in Dune

Dune by Frank being a science fiction novel present a storyline that is quite objective and creative on the theme, plot and character developments. As such, Dune is a progressive novel gender. Gender has been significantly addressed in the development of female characters as well as themes. As such, there is quite a lot of information in the novel directed towards the development of the feminine aspect of the character Bene Gesserit. Its plot focuses so much on the development of the hero aspect of being in control of the planet, Arrakis. On the contrary, the all-female team focuses on establishing genetically superior male who would fundamentally solve matters of the soul that the female could not tackle. Emphatically Herbert notes that the organizations aim is to, produce a genetically superior male being, capable of looking into parts of the soul where the women cannot look (175). But as such, the females are portrayed as individuals who are used to offer progress for men in the novel. In this regard, the women have limited goals and little autonomy to conduct activities on their own. In light of this Frank was portraying the contemporary world wherein most communities across the globe still practice male chauvinism extensively. For these reasons, the gender theme is quite progressive.

Jessica is portrayed as a weak and overprotective mother who is only into offering motherly services. Due to the myriad of challenges she faces, she becomes a staunch woman on matters of gender. In light of this, she becomes a feminist who is a crusader for various issues relating to family. Correspondingly, she is the most developed character in Dune as she undergoes quite some transformation. Lady Jessica who is Pauls mother plays a crucial role in the entire story. Jessica is a feminist character in the novel. Despite the fact that she was happily married to Duke, she still plays a role as a concubine. The primary reason as for her involvement in the concubine role was to satisfy the political negotiations attached to her husband. As the storyline in the novel proceeds, after the demise of Duke, power dynamics happen in this society.

Lady Jessica assumes the leadership role, and she becomes the Reverend Mother of the Fremen. Subsequently, she trains her son the leadership roles through her weird ways (Jack 24). She remained submissive to the husband since the mans decision was considered superior to that of the woman. The passivity of Jessica is evident in the novel as she entirely relied on the decisions Duke suggested. This denied her the chance to make unilateral choices. The author illustrates in the book that during the lifetime of Jessica, all the decisions governing their day-to-day life were strictly made by the husband and sometimes the children. Also, in the text, Jessica shows concern and cares for her children in the manner in which she nurtures them.

One weakness of Herberts characterization of women is in shaping their significant roles. The women are only portrayed to be complementary to the male characters. Regardless of this effort, Herbert contrarily develops Jessica more than many male characters (Jack 29). He fails to exemplify the religious role of the women group Bene Gesserit regarding religion as he suggests. A strength of Herberts characterization of women is that they are illustrated to be quite significant to various transformations in the society. A point he highlights in various instances where women have supported male in becoming great people. Their psychic powers enable them to modify Paul who is a male character.

Implication of Heroism

American classic novels between the nineteen fifties and the nineteen sixties were flooded with stories of various superheroes such as Superman, Gilbert Goseyn, and telepaths. The dominant style of writing during that era depicted supernatural humans who possessed certain abilities, which are beyond human comprehension. These super-human main characters are also common in other scientific chronicles. Some of these characters include Skywalker, Aeneas, and Odysseus. However, Frank Herberts book Dune is different. Even though the work originated from an era of heroes of paranormal abilities, the author illustrates the main persona, Paul as a scientific genius. Frank is a firm believer that the problems in the society will be solved by a being of superior authority, which can be either a religious hero, a system created by Philosophy, or a machine (Scigaj 340). He writes that Science can offer a spontaneous solution to all of the humankind issues (Scigaj 340). This is the reason why Herberts hero, Paul, acquires his power through slow and agonizing procedures, unlike the other characters who acquire their abilities suddenly. Franks characters acquire their special capabilities through the application of mystical Scientific methods.

Women rights were not highly regarded in the nineteen sixties. The implication of a male hero in the narrative must have drawn criticism from the female-rights movements of the period. Nevertheless, the principal character in Dune can be described as a positive force in society. Most of the discoveries in different fields have been made as a result of the research conducted by scientists. For example, the discovery of electricity was a significant step forward for the human race, and it was achieved through experimentation. Dune illustrates Science as a super-power and anyone who masters it can be a super-human, therefore inspiring a generation of problem-solving human beings.

The novel Dune depicts a scientific hero unlike other Science fiction writing of the nineteen sixties. The depiction of a male hero can be seen as a chauvinistic move by the female lobbyists of the era. Nonetheless, it is a positive force in society that encourages the development in the field of Science.

Science Fiction Influences

We are acquainted with the "drifting mindfulness" as a thoughtful method that Paul uses to conquer his apprehensions and strains; he forms complex actualities about human science, "creature awareness" and "substantial uprightness", basically tending to bits of data identifying with our primal impulses and judiciousness. Be that as it may, by precluding the immediate associations between every reality or proclamation, Herbert constrains us to make mental jumps between these ideas and connect them for ourselves. We not just need to decipher and comprehend logical ideas that are curious to Herbert's universe, yet additionally, practice our creative power as people by partner ourselves with Paul and his mental procedures. This is the idea that lies at the core of sci-fi: the foundation of logical and mechanical thoughts and procedures that are not recognizable, and the development of this condition so we should practice our creative innovations in its understanding.

Herbert makes a further, more unremarkable point by concentrating on human and creation science. We are incited to think about not simply logical actualities, but rather those concerning our physical cosmetics and our exceptional presence (Lorenzo 315). Paul epitomizes the sci-fi per user (or essayist) who examines being human, moving toward thoughts of awareness, subjectivism, and organization. At the core of this section is an inquiry: what makes us not the same as the creatures? Furthermore, in the structure of the entry, we discover the appropriate response: our ability to interface these dynamic ideas, to venture outside our primal impulses and even everyday discernment to find a universe of cognizant and oblivious associations. The "drifting mindfulness" along these lines epitomizes and embodies the basic ideas of sci-fi on a large number of allegorical and meta-printed levels.

The Fremen have complicated water protection ceremonies. They save the water refined from their dead, and they see somebody sobbing tears as a significant tribute to the dead because the living so urgently needs water. In the novel, Dr. Kynes says "The majority of man's water eventually, has a place with his kin to his clan" (71). This announcement demonstrates how much the Fremen esteem their water as a real 'having a place' not just an inexhaustible item that is perpetual. In our general public then again, misuse water like it is never going to deplete and dirty it with poisons and sewage.

The way that Earth and Arrakis both have water yet it is dealt with altogether distinctively by its tenants overstates the differentiation between the treatments of water between the two species/societies. A large portion of Dune is anecdotal, yet the water isn't, it is something tha...

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