Deacon King Kong


James McBride

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Deacon King Kong: Chapter 24: Sister Paul Summary & Analysis

Finally, Sportcoat makes his way to the nursing home to visit Sister Paul. When he arrives at the nursing home, he is in rough shape. Because he hasn’t had a drink in over 24 hours, he is sweating profusely and is clearly agitated. When the receptionist spots him, she assumes he is crazy and tries to turn him away. However, a nearby security guard, who is also newly sober, takes pity on Sportcoat and shows him where to find Sister Paul.
So far, Sportcoat has remained sober, although doing so is obviously difficult for him. Nonetheless, he feels the need to tie up all of his loose ends. This includes finding the missing Christmas fund. Sportcoat believes that if he can maintain his sobriety and return the fund, he will have redeemed himself in the eyes of Hettie and the broader Cause community.
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Sportcoat goes to Sister Paul’s room, and she tells him about the relationship between the Elefantes and the Five Ends Church. When Sister Paul was a young woman, she happened to witness the incident where Elefante’s father saved Potts’s life. According to Sister Paul, Potts ran off after the man was flattened by the truck to go get help. However, Elefante’s father had other plans in mind. He asked Sister Paul to help him take the truck to his home. He’d been transporting illegal goods when he ran over the gunman, he told Sister Paul, and he didn’t want to get caught by the police. He explained to the Sister that he couldn’t drive the truck the rest of the way by himself because he broke his foot by slamming on the breaks so hard.
Here, Sister Paul reveals the second half of the story that Potts told Elefante earlier in the novel. In Potts’s story, Elefante’s father looks like the hero. However, in Sister Paul’s story, Elefante’s father is in need of a savior himself. Elefante’s father knows that if the police find the illegal goods he is transporting, he will go to jail and his family will be left with nothing.
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At first, Sister Paul was reluctant to help a man who was clearly a criminal. However, she eventually decided that God would want her to help him, and so she did. When Sister Paul later arrived at Elefante’s father’s house, he offered to pay her, but she didn’t take his money. Later, Elefante’s father repaid her by loaning her money to build the Five Ends Church. In addition, Elefante’s father promised to pay for the church altogether if she would let him hide a small object in one of its walls. Sister Paul agreed, and Elefante’s father hid the object, as promised. In addition, Elefante’s father began sending cheese to the church every week.
Sister Paul does not act in accordance with the law; instead, she does what she believes is right. Such actions are characteristic of those who are part of the Five Ends Church. So that her motivations are unquestionable, Sister Paul doesn’t even accept payment for her good deed. Additionally, this passage reveals the origin story of Jesus’s cheese: it actually comes from the Elefantes.
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