Study Guide

Judge Stevens in A Rose for Emily

By William Faulkner

Judge Stevens

Judge Stevens gets one of the best lines in the story:

"Dammit, sir, will you accuse a lady to her face of smelling bad?" (2.9)

Now, we think Judge Stevens has a point...if, say, someone had started mocking Miss Emily for skipping an application of deodorant. But Stevens is getting up on his high horse when Miss Emily's house has started to stink of rotting flesh.

Judge Stevens is portrayed as a traditionalist: he believes in the preservation of female dignity even more than he believes in bringing homicidal criminals to justice. Instead of issuing a warrant to investigate the source of the smell, Judge Stevens has men spread lime inside Miss Emily's cellar in the dead of night.