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    Chapter 37

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    Chapter 37

    Postby Freakzilla » 12 Feb 2008 17:59

    The hands move, the lips move --
    Ideas gush from his words,
    And his eyes devour!
    He is an island of Selfdom.

    -description from "A Manual of Muad'Dib" by the Princess Irulan

    Jessica is brought onto the ledge above the great hall in Sietch Tabr as more than twenty thousand Fremen gather below to witness her risk her life. She thinks she must do this in order to secure their place among the Fremen, even though she may not survive. She worries about her unborn daughter. Paul arrives and asks what's going on. Chani arrives then followed by four more women carrying another woman on a litter. Stilgar announces to the crowd that tonight they will leave and head South into the desert. The old Reverend Mother has told him she will not survive another hajra and Jessica has consented to pass within so that the tribe will not be without a Reverend Mother in such a difficult time. Chani is consecrated as sayyadina. She calls the Watermasters to come forward through the crowd and they deposit skins full of liquid on the ledge. Chani blesses the water, and administers it to Jessica. She realizes it's a drug and time stands still for her. She looks within and sees the black place where she knows she cannot go, the place only the Kwisatz Haderach may enter. She searches out the danger of the drug within her, recognizes it's chemical composition then begins to change it into something that won't harm her. This acts as a catalyst and spreads, time resumes normal speed. Chani collects a drop of moisture with the skin's spout to act as catalys for the rest of the poison drug water. They sit her down and the Old Reverend Mother Ramollo sits beside her and touches her, they share a mutual awareness. Ramallo realizes Jessica is pregnant and warns that this will change them both. She warns her to be strong and to be glad it's a daughter, this would have killed a male fetus. The fetus radiates terror and Jessica calms it with pure emotions of love, comfort and protection. Ramallo warns that she must give to her and the daughter might not remain sane. She then pours the experiences of her life into Jessica's awareness while dying. Jessica realizes after it's done that she is now a Reverend Mother. Jessica blesses the changed water and the Fremen have their orgy. The memory of the old Reverend Mother then opens up to her revealing all the Reverend mothers of the Fremen past. She sees how the drug, the Water of Life is made, a small worm is drowned and it's dying breath collected. Paul brings her back to reality asking if it's allright for him to drink, she says yes and looks at Stilgar. He says that now they know she cannot be false. She passes out and Chani makes Paul drink. The croud chants Lisan-al-gaib and Muad-dib, he senses wildness in their voices. Paul and Chani go off together and the drug works on Paul. Chani tells him that they all share an awareness on the drug but sharing with Paul frightens her and Paul tries to comfort her. He sees this time as a pause between periods of great violence. They promise themselves to each other.

    This is the end of Book II.
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    Re: Chapter 37

    Postby Freakzilla » 04 Jan 2012 14:39

    Revised, clean.
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    Re: Chapter 37

    Postby Spicehopper » 17 Jan 2013 20:07

    I'm re-reading Dune for the first time in a while, and have just finished this chapter. It seems particularly interesting for a number of reasons.

    As I've been reading it, up to this point, Jessica has been playing a part for the MP myths, and has to act as though she knows what's going on at all points with the Fremen ceremonies and customs. So she won't ask beforehand what the WoL ceremony is about and what it involves.

    Also, because she hasn't realised that Fremen RMs are the same as BG ones (though Paul picks up there's something special about Ramallo) she doesn't realise that this is a "real" RM she's dealing with, or guess at the nature of the ritual until it's too late.

    (Edit: I meant to say here that the way these plot elements conspire to generate surprise and suspense for the reader seems particularly great!)

    Once the transformation is done, though, she does tell the reader unequivocally through her thoughts that the process and results are equivalent to the BG Reverend Mother ordeal, that she is now in all respects a 'proper' BG Reverend Mother.

    So I found it interesting to ponder a few things about the transformation in this chapter.

    Firstly, there's no explicit mention of ancestral memories - the 'other memory' revealed in the text seems to belong (as far as we're told) to the RMs forming a chain linked by the ordeal back into the past ("a view down a wide corridor to other Reverend Mothers until there seemed no end to them")

    A close reading of the passage where Jessica sees the "corridor" open in Ramallo's memories can seem to hint at ancestral memories, though. We're told, more or less, that the Fremen culture had migrated from Poritrin, to Bela Tegeuse, then to Rossak and Harmonthep, before arriving at Arrakis. The knowledge of these times is transmitted "first by word of mouth, hidden in the sand chanteys, then refined through their own Reverend Mothers with the discovery of the poison drug on Rossak... and now developed to subtle strength on Arrakis in the discovery of the Water of Life." Judging by this you might think that the chain of transplanted RM memories would extend only as far back as Rossak, where as far as we're told the ordeal-by-poison originated. But Jessica seems to have actual recollections of the planets before Rossak in the migration chain, rather than second-hand "word of mouth" information about them: "Jessica saw the slave cribs on Bela Tegeuse", so perhaps there's space in this part of the text for 'standard' OM too.

    You could easily read "she saw the thread of the past carried by Sayyadina after Sayyadina ..." as referring Jessica's knowledge of this past to a chain of memories transmitted orally and then through the RM ordeal though. I wonder exactly how FH conceived these memories at the time of writing?

    Also, there's the question of the relationship between the Fremen and BG versions of the Reverend Mother ordeal. Two questions come to mind here:

    - the "Reverend Mother" name being common to both suggests that there's some kind of commonality - are we to infer, given Jessica's surprise at the age of Fremen culture, that the BG themselves are an offshoot of a Fremen tradition, or perhaps the BG RM ordeal was borrowed from the Fremen?

    - If the WoL as used by the Fremen is to some extent a secret of theirs (it's evidently unknown to Jessica, RM Mohiam hasn't told her about it despite knowing she was headed to Arrakis, perhaps implying that Mohiam is unaware of it also), then what substance is used in its place in the BG ordeal at this time?

    I also found it interesting that in Jessica's encounter with "the place where we cannot look", it's described as "a cellular core, a pit of blackness from which she recoiled." I'm not sure quite how literally we're supposed to take "cellular core" here, but given that Jessica is playing around with individual protein molecules a couple of paragraphs later, a literal cell nucleus is not ruled out, I think.

    This relates to a pet theory of mine that FH might have had something like the RNA theory of memory storage in mind while writing Dune, and to the distinction that is sometimes made (correctly or not, I've no idea!) between genetic material in the cell nucleus, which is from both parents, and material in the cytoplasm, which is only from the mother.

    So from that point of view, "cellular core" fits nicely with the idea of male ancestral memory. (I'm not suggesting RNA as the in-universe mechanism, just that the research into it as a possible memory vector in the early 60's may have been an influence on these ideas in Dune.)

    Anyway, I hope it is ok to put this kind of post in the chapter's thread here.. Please feel free to move it elsewhere if not!
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    Re: Chapter 37

    Postby distrans » 18 Jan 2013 02:44

    so the fremen had reverend mothers before the bene gesserit came into existance...


    hmmm



    brings up a wonder about the origin of those skulking jews
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    Re: Chapter 37

    Postby Freakzilla » 18 Jan 2013 07:24

    distrans wrote:so the fremen had reverend mothers before the bene gesserit came into existance...


    hmmm



    brings up a wonder about the origin of those skulking jews


    Have you read the appendices?

    I think doing so would clear up a lot of your questions.
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    Re: Chapter 37

    Postby inhuien » 18 Jan 2013 07:49

    Freakzilla wrote:
    distrans wrote:so the fremen had reverend mothers before the bene gesserit came into existance...


    hmmm



    brings up a wonder about the origin of those skulking jews


    Have you read the appendices?

    I think doing so would clear up a lot of your questions.


    The issue at point here is an understanding of OM. The memories that are available via genetic heritage do not all have to be Reverend Mothers, becoming RM give one access to all of your female ancestral memories. A point evidenced in GEOD which I shan't detail for fear of spoilage.
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    Re: Chapter 37

    Postby Freakzilla » 18 Jan 2013 07:55

    Yes, everyone has cellular, ancestral memories. A Reverend Mother is someone who can access them by transforming an illuminating poison to see the feminine pasts, the KH can access both masculine and feminine.
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    Re: Chapter 37

    Postby Cpt. Aramsham » 19 Jan 2013 14:01

    Spicehopper wrote:Firstly, there's no explicit mention of ancestral memories - the 'other memory' revealed in the text seems to belong (as far as we're told) to the RMs forming a chain linked by the ordeal back into the past ("a view down a wide corridor to other Reverend Mothers until there seemed no end to them")

    A close reading of the passage where Jessica sees the "corridor" open in Ramallo's memories can seem to hint at ancestral memories, though. We're told, more or less, that the Fremen culture had migrated from Poritrin, to Bela Tegeuse, then to Rossak and Harmonthep, before arriving at Arrakis. The knowledge of these times is transmitted "first by word of mouth, hidden in the sand chanteys, then refined through their own Reverend Mothers with the discovery of the poison drug on Rossak... and now developed to subtle strength on Arrakis in the discovery of the Water of Life." Judging by this you might think that the chain of transplanted RM memories would extend only as far back as Rossak, where as far as we're told the ordeal-by-poison originated. But Jessica seems to have actual recollections of the planets before Rossak in the migration chain, rather than second-hand "word of mouth" information about them: "Jessica saw the slave cribs on Bela Tegeuse", so perhaps there's space in this part of the text for 'standard' OM too.

    You could easily read "she saw the thread of the past carried by Sayyadina after Sayyadina ..." as referring Jessica's knowledge of this past to a chain of memories transmitted orally and then through the RM ordeal though. I wonder exactly how FH conceived these memories at the time of writing?

    There's an interesting discussion of this question on the dunenovels form.

    I could add that Alia makes a reference to OM from Bela Tegeuse as well (she remembers what a baby born there looked like). If we don't believe in ancestral memories among the Fremen Reverend Mothers, one way to explain it might be that the poison drug on Rossak was discovered relatively quickly once the Zensunni/Fremen had been moved there, so that some of the first Fremen Reverend Mothers still had first-hand memories of Bela Tegeuse.

    Also, there's the question of the relationship between the Fremen and BG versions of the Reverend Mother ordeal. Two questions come to mind here:

    - the "Reverend Mother" name being common to both suggests that there's some kind of commonality - are we to infer, given Jessica's surprise at the age of Fremen culture, that the BG themselves are an offshoot of a Fremen tradition, or perhaps the BG RM ordeal was borrowed from the Fremen?

    - If the WoL as used by the Fremen is to some extent a secret of theirs (it's evidently unknown to Jessica, RM Mohiam hasn't told her about it despite knowing she was headed to Arrakis, perhaps implying that Mohiam is unaware of it also), then what substance is used in its place in the BG ordeal at this time?

    Well, the second question is relatively straightforward. In Dune, the BG use "the Truthsayer drug," which can apparently be one of a number of different "illuminating poisons." In Dune Messiah, the spice-based drug they use is identified as "spice liquor."

    For the first question, no, the BG predate the Fremen.* The BG existed prior to the Empire (during the Butlerian Jihad), and it was Imperial slave raids that took the Fremen on their long diaspora. The reason why the Fremen call their Reverend Mothers "Reverend Mother" is probably exactly what everyone says: they learned it from the Missionaria Protectiva (without the Sisterhood realizing that the priestesses they gave that title in fact had a right to it).

    * At least the Fremen as we know them. The Zensunni religion already existed at the time of the Butlerian Jihad, since one of their leaders helped write the OC Bible.
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    Re: Chapter 37

    Postby Naïve mind » 20 Jan 2013 07:27

    Yet another interpretation: when we read "the discovery of the poison drug on Rossak", we should be reading "the discovery of the poison drug on Rossak", i.e. the discovery of a plant that was known to be usable for the RM ritual, enabling the Rossak sayyadinas to reinstate the RM tradition.

    The appendices are quite clear that the Bene Gesserit came into being by banding together existing traditions of soothsayers, witches, shamans and sorceresses. They probably picked up the beginnings of prana-bindu on one planet, truthsay on another. Maybe the RM ritual originated on Poritrin, and predated both the Bene Gesserit and the Fremen tradition.
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    Re: Chapter 37

    Postby Cpt. Aramsham » 21 Jan 2013 09:00

    Naïve mind wrote:Yet another interpretation: when we read "the discovery of the poison drug on Rossak", we should be reading "the discovery of the poison drug on Rossak", i.e. the discovery of a plant that was known to be usable for the RM ritual, enabling the Rossak sayyadinas to reinstate the RM tradition.


    Clever, but I don't think it works when you look at the sentence as a whole:

    And she saw the thread of the past carried by Sayyadina after Sayyadina - first by word of mouth, hidden in the sand chanteys, then refined through their own Reverend Mothers with the discovery of the poison drug on Rossak . . . and now developed to subtle strength on Arrakis in the discovery of the Water of Life.


    It is quite explicit that before Rossak, the "thread of the past" was carried by word of mouth, and that this was the "first" way it was carried. So no Fremen RMs prior to Rossak. (I'm intrigued by the "sand chanteys," BTW. Were the previous stops of the Zensunni migration also desert planets? Did FH write the first part of the sentence before he decided to extend the history of RM-hood back to Rossak?)
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    Re: Chapter 37

    Postby inhuien » 21 Jan 2013 09:19

    I think it's likely they were somewhat on the dryside as the Freman wouldn't have lasted a generation with some prior experience of desert survival.
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    Re: Chapter 37

    Postby Cpt. Aramsham » 21 Jan 2013 10:04

    Well, it's not like they were just picked up on Rossak and dropped in the Arrakeen desert. Nor did the Imperial bureaucrats who organized the colonization deliberately create a community outside of Imperial control. They were imported as a (slave) labor pool for the original settlements (Arrakeen and others). Some of them subsequently escaped into the desert to become Free Men, while the rest became the people of the graben, pan and sink. As Paul says: "These city people have Fremen blood. It's just that they haven't yet learned how to escape their bondage."

    Of course, it would be logical for the Imperium to pick a population that already had some experience with desert living, but it wouldn't it wouldn't be absolutely necessary. And of course, it's very possible that the mortality rate in the first generations was horrendous. Poritrin is said to have been an easy planet, and the Fremen seem to have fond memories of Bela Tegeuse ("My family sat in their pool courtyard, in air bathed by the moisture that arose from the spray of a fountain"), although there's also mention of "slave cribs" there. I don't think we have any idea what the weather was like on Rossak or Harmonthep, but the Fremen were almost certainly toughened in a general sense by their life there.
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    Re: Chapter 37

    Postby inhuien » 21 Jan 2013 10:16

    You do have a long winded way of saying yeah you're probably right.
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    Re: Chapter 37

    Postby Cpt. Aramsham » 21 Jan 2013 11:45

    More like "even though your conclusion is probably right, your reasoning is wrong."
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    Re: Chapter 37

    Postby inhuien » 21 Jan 2013 11:56

    What reasoning did I give, I went straight to the conclusion.

    Freak we need a clean up here.
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    Re: Chapter 37

    Postby Spicehopper » 21 Jan 2013 13:00

    Just wanted to say thanks for the informative replies - especially the post mentioning the thread at that other forum, which itself was quite an interesting read as regards the OM thing. Plenty to think about in that and the other info posted here!
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    Re: Chapter 37

    Postby Cpt. Aramsham » 21 Jan 2013 13:35

    Happy to help, Spicehopper. It's an interesting topic with lots of questions.

    inhuien wrote:What reasoning did I give


    "as the Freman wouldn't have lasted a generation with some prior experience of desert survival."
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    Re: Chapter 37

    Postby inhuien » 21 Jan 2013 13:53

    Tut, that was complete conjecture.
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    Re: Chapter 37

    Postby distrans » 25 Jan 2013 23:12

    so you surmise?
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    Re: Chapter 37

    Postby inhuien » 26 Jan 2013 03:56

    Yes.
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    Re: Chapter 37

    Postby distrans » 27 Jan 2013 00:19

    Cpt. Aramsham wrote:Of course, it would be logical for the Imperium to pick a population that already had some experience with desert living, but it wouldn't it wouldn't be absolutely necessary..


    seems to me an imperium wouldnt want to introduce a workforce into an enviroment they understood.
    better for the works that their slaves were unfarmiliar with the surroundings and thus extra dependant on the masters infrastructure
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    Re: Chapter 37

    Postby Lisan Al-Gaib » 05 Feb 2015 11:34

    I just have re-read the chapter, and Jessica states that the BG ritual is quite similar, but not completely equal. I think the difference may reside in the sharing the Fremen Reverend Mother do, while the BG Reverend Mother just preserve their on Genetic Memories. However we know that, after the Scattering, the sharing becomes something particular of the BG too.

    About who came first, Fremen Rm or BG RM, I think we should not forget that the BGs were just a banding of sorceress before the Butlerian Jihad. In some way, through different ways, people from distant planets and cultures may have developed their own "Water of Life" rituals that were colimated into one single standard ritual when they form the BG society.
    The singular multiplicity of this universe draws my deepest attention. It is a thing of ultimate beauty.

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    Re: Chapter 37

    Postby Freakzilla » 05 Feb 2015 14:30

    Yeah, and different in that the BG didn't know about the Water of Life.
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