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Inhabiting the Myth of Dune

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Arrakis as a planet of harsh conditions.
  3. Jessica confrontation with the Shadout Mapes.
  4. The myth that the Fremen are associating with Jessica and Paul.
  5. Jessica's performance of the Sayyadina.
  6. The power of the myth.

The structures of everyday life are embodied in patterns that align with an internal concept of the mythic. The extent to which all societies are guided by some sense of the mythic is proportional to a culture's dependence on language, religion, or historical foundation; for these structures that create culture bind it in a shared narrative. In the words of Thomas Mann, ?The myth is the foundation of life; it is the timeless schema, the pious formula into which life flows when it reproduces its traits out of the unconscious.? (Mann, 30). By picking up a work of fantasy or science fiction, a reader is immersing himself in a world in which the myth is made explicit, where the characters are living out hero's journeys made epic or internal. Frank Herbert's Dune, depicts characters that consciously embody the myths of their world, thereby molding their own hero's journeys along with the society that empowered them with the mythic roles.

[...] Similarly, inhabiting a role of spiritual liberator in a myth that her own organization implanted would seem to doubly repress the Fremen through an outside narrative and false prophet. Yet the myth that the Fremen are associating with Jessica and Paul is not a standard formula taught to all Bene Gesserit by the Missionaria Protectiva. Jessica does not know the nature of her role; she plays into the ritual test with Mapes in order to figure out what legend the Missionaria implanted. [...]


[...] When Jessica is confronted by the Shadout Mapes, she discerns that the prophecy, which is guiding the people of Arrakis to potentially rally behind the Atreides, is an evolution of a Bene Gesserit myth implanted to protect members of their order. Jessica later thinks to herself, our Missionaria Protectiva even planted religious safety valves all through this hell hole . She must've been good, that Bene Gesserit of the Missionaria Protectiva. These Fremen are beautifully prepared to believe in (Herbert, 284). [...]


[...] Her reality begins to meld with the role that she had deemed a superficial guise from the Bene Gesserit, for just like the power of collective belief in the myth makes it real, her performance of the destined Reverend Mother shapes her into the authentic figure. When first she senses that Stilgar and his tribe were awaiting a sign of her identity, she searches fruitlessly within herself for some impressive recitation. Then suddenly, recognized the sensation with a quickening of pulse. [...]

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