The Plague of Doves

by Louise Erdrich

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All Souls’ Day Summary

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Last Updated on February 4, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 390

One Halloween night, Evelina comes home from college to help Mushoom celebrate his favorite holiday. Mushoom misses his brother, even though Shamengwa once shot him accidentally in the ear. He has become very thin with age.

Clemence and her husband are going out to church, leaving Mushoom and Evelina to eat Halloween treats and field trick-or-treaters. In an attempt to scare the children, Mushoom drapes bread dough over himself and fills his mouth with ketchup. It works: one terrified child throws a rock which hits Mushoom in the forehead, so he has to be taken to the hospital. 

In the hospital, Mushoom announces that he is going to die and asks them to call Neve. Then Father Cassidy arrives, but Mushoom refuses to be converted. He quickly gets better. A year later, Father Cassidy will quit the priesthood and become an entrepreneur. 

Corwin comes to the house that weekend and drives Evelina out to a deserted place, where they kiss. They stop, confused, and fall asleep. When they wake, Corwin suggests they should get married and go to Paris, but Evelina repeats that she is a lesbian. 

On the way home, they see Mooshum walking along the side of the road. They stop for him; he asks to be taken to Neve, so they drive to Pluto. When they get to Neve’s home, Evelina calls her parents to explain what has happened. Her father asks her to check Neve’s mail, as Mushoom has stolen one of his valuable stamps. Evelina finds it, a blue Benjamin Franklin. Her father promises her a trip to Paris if she gets the stamp safely back to him.

Corwin and Evelina leave Mushoom and Neve alone. The next morning, Neve drops Mushoom off at home. 

At Christmas break, Evelina’s father is angry with Mushoom for having actually used several of his valuable stamps as postage. They are returned by the postman as invalid. In March, Evelina’s father decides to take his collection to a safety deposit box, but a car accident sends the stamp album out of the car window. Joseph and Evelina recover them, but they are wet, and most of them disintegrate when they dry. Evelina has never before realized how valuable the stamps really are: her father says one of them alone was worth half a million dollars.

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