Dune

By Frank Herbert

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Character Analysis

The protagonist of Dune by Frank Herbert is a young boy, around fifteen, named Paul Atriedes, or Paul Maud'dib as he is later known. He is described as having green eyes, though they later turn to the blue of the Fremen due to the amount of spice in their diet, and black hair and is also "small for his age" (pg. 4). Paul has an analytical mind and is clever, resourceful, and insightful. Also, through the challenges he faces, from almost being murdered to having to fight a war against all odds, he grows stronger. He comments, "There should be a science of discontent. People need hard times to develop psychic muscles." There is a reason behind everything he does whether it will affect him right away or in the long term. He also says, "Whether a thought is spoken or not it is a real thing and has powers of reality." This means that your thoughts affect you even if they are not said out loud and they have the power to come true. It shows that Paul takes into consideration how our thoughts influence our actions. Finally, as he changes, learns, and grows stronger throughout the book and he realizes there are many paths we can take and our smallest actions can have a large impact on the future, but at some times we do not have full control and he states, "The mystery of life isn't a problem to solve, but a reality to experience."
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Literary Elements

Dune shows how the strongest of us often face the most difficult challenges and go through many trials and this, maintaining strength in the face of danger, is one of the themes of the book which help to advance the story. The setting of Dune, Arrakis, is a desolate place where sandworms thrive and humans struggle to survive. The planet itself highly influences the main character, Paul, and produces the challenges which he must face to survive, during which he must not show fear as, "Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration." The challenges presented by the planet cause many epiphanies for Paul which he later acts on. An example of one of his epiphanies is, "Without change something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken." However the most significant epiphany that he receives is that, "The people who can destroy a thing, they control it." As he faces a war with other houses he uses this to his advantage as he controls the one thing they want, the spice. Throughout all of the battles and near death experiences he does not show fear but rather maintains his strength of will and leads those who stand beside him. He proves that he is able to not only survive, as "survival is the ability to swim in strange water", but also thrive through the challenges he faces and continue on his journey.
Dune by Frank Herbert is an inspiring tale of a young boy who must face a new world and fulfill his destiny no matter how impossible it might seem. He gains knowledge and wisdom along the way which he shares with those around him who then teach him in turn. I believe it opens the eyes of its readers and would recommend it to all young adults and adults who love science fiction and who love to be inspired.
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