The Plague of Doves

by Louise Erdrich

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Sister Godzilla Summary

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Last Updated on February 4, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 317

Corwin Peace tells the other boys he has kissed Evelina, infuriating her. She torments him all summer, refuses to allow him to ride on her horse, and even shoots him with a BB gun, but he remains in love with her. At the end of summer, there is a new nun at school they call Godzilla, really Sister Mary Anita. She is young and very ugly, unexpectedly good at baseball. Evelina is dismayed to find she cannot be impressive at the game herself. 

Mary Anita catches Evelina drawing a dinosaur in a nun's robe. She gives her detention. In detention, Evelina apologizes, and when Mary Anita confesses that she has been teased about her looks and it is still painful, Evelina begins to cry. Mary Anita asks her to promise never to hurt her again. 

After this session, Evelina falls out of love with Corwin and becomes fixated on Mary Anita. She strives to protect the teacher from the other students’ chants of “Godzilla.” Every time Corwin tries to remind them, imitating a dinosaur behind Mary Anita’s back, Evelina hates him more. 

In a science lesson about reptiles, Corwin suggests the reptile “Godzilla.” Mary Anita laughs, but Evelina, furious, punches Corwin in the face. Now, she feels she wants to be a nun when she grows up, living alongside Mary Anita. She writes the nun letters which she tears up. One day she asks Mary Anita to run away with her, which simply makes the nun think Evelina must have troubles at home.

One day, Corwin brings a tin Godzilla toy to school. In morning lessons, he brings it out of his desk and winds it up. Before it can reach Mary Anita, and before Evelina can reach it, the nun turns and kicks it out of the way, smashing it. Mary Anita turns away, ignoring the class’s laughter, and does not look at Evelina.

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