That Evening Sun


William Faulkner

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Mr. Stovall Character Analysis

Mr. Stovall is a “respectable” white man who lives in Jefferson. As a “cashier at the bank and a deacon in the Baptist church,” he is held in high esteem among the community. Yet Mr. Stovall has also been using Nancy’s services as a prostitute while neglecting to pay her. When Nancy publicly shames Mr. Stovall for this—shouting “when you going to pay me white man” at him in public—Mr. Stovall violently attacks Nancy and kicks out several of her teeth. Despite the fact that he has robbed and beaten her in order to protect his own reputation, it is Nancy who is arrested and imprisoned. This demonstrates that, according to the standards of the period, the blame for this dispute falls on Nancy and does not affect Mr. Stovall’s reputation. White people in the town are more willing to believe—or pretend—that a black woman is lying than to condemn a “respectable” white man for visiting and cheating a black prostitute. Through Mr. Stovall, Faulker highlights the stark racial prejudice that limits Nancy’s opportunities and options to protect herself.

Mr. Stovall Quotes in That Evening Sun

The That Evening Sun quotes below are all either spoken by Mr. Stovall or refer to Mr. Stovall. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Racism and Segregation Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of That Evening Sun published in 1995.
That Evening Sun Quotes

So we thought it was whiskey until that day they arrested her again and were taking her to jail and they passed Mr. Stovall. He was a cashier in the bank and a deacon in the Baptist church, and Nancy began to say: “When you going to pay me, white man?” […] Mr. Stovall knocked her down but she kept on saying, “When you going to pay me, white man?” […] until Mr. Stovall kicked her in the mouth with his heel and the marshal caught Mr. Stovall back, and Nancy lying in the street, laughing. She turned her head and spat out some blood and teeth and said, “It’s been three times since he paid me a cent.”

Related Characters: Quentin Compson (speaker), Nancy (speaker), Mr. Stovall
Page Number: 291
Explanation and Analysis:
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Mr. Stovall Character Timeline in That Evening Sun

The timeline below shows where the character Mr. Stovall appears in That Evening Sun. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
That Evening Sun
Racism and Segregation Theme Icon
Naivety, Ignorance, and Nostalgia Theme Icon
...arrested again. As she is being escorted to jail, the group passes a man called Mr. Stovall , a local bank cashier and church deacon. Nancy screams at Mr. Stovall, demanding, “when... (full context)