Dune’s Relevance to Today’s Society

Frank Herbert’s Dune can be read as an enduring novel due to the importance Herbert places on vital resources to his characters way of life. Emphasis on water and spices being vital for the characters of Dune evoke ideas of how non-renewable resources such as petroleum and electricity in today’s society are becoming scarce. Dune could be argued as becoming increasingly relevant for today’s society with ideas about the effects of global warming intensifying, worldwide water shortage becoming more apparent and continued political upheaval in the oil-rich Middle East (Michaud). Dune remains a relevant novel to today’s readers, as although the political battles within the novel are across fictional planets it represents how a lack of resources is often the reason for political wars across countries.

Water on the planet of Arrakis is precious and the characters use water to show respect to one another. The Fremen, which are the native members of Arrakis, consider water and life as equal, “From water does all life begin” (Herbert 43). Water conservation is a prominent theme throughout Dune and holds relevance today in the drying of the earth due to global warming that soon the preciousness of water in Dune will become our reality.

The melange/spice which is the other substance within the novel that is highly valued and fought over could be viewed as representative of abusive drugs and drug experimentation in today’s society. Melange is an addictive spice drug substance which is mined by the Fremen on Arrakis. Paul consumes this drug and gains powers including the ability to see into the past and future. Melange is symbolic of the way in which experimentation of drugs today can have the potential to access higher efficiencies of brain power, but may also be harmful and addictive which is represented by the way Paul must have large quantities of the drug in order to survive, “all fades before melange” (Herbert 46).

Michaud, Jon. “”Dune” Endures.” The New Yorker (2013).