“Untoward Stories: A City of Churches / Donald Barthelme” by M.E. McMullen. Go to the profile of Untoward Magazine. Untoward Magazine. Get an answer for ‘In the short story “A City of Churches” by Donald Barthelme, Cecelia, when threatened to be kept in the city of Prester against her will, asserts . “City of Churches” is a short story written in by Donald Barthelme. The story takes place in a small town isolated from the real world.

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I agree that this story has that feeling. JoAnn January 3, at 6: Matt – Updike edited this collection. Newer Post Older Post Home. What could the secret be in a city of churches? Prestor is a very odd and strange churcyes. I have a few belfry apartments that I can show you. John Mutford September 20, at What is the significance of Cecelia’s bravery in the end of the story, especially when she tells Mr.

All of our churches have many extra rooms. People are connected by their schools, interests, hobbies, jobs, religionand their neighborhoods. The opening of the story reminds me of Savannah, specifically Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

At no stage in the story do any of the characters again with the exception of Cecelia consider their own personal association or any of the associations that some of the businesses in the town have with the churches to be improper or non-progressive to either the individual or to commerce in general.

Teddy Rose – Donalc me know what you think Phillips implicated on to Cecilia that the town of Prestor is very religious. It is her presence that takes the story beyond the ordinary. Both sides of the street were solidly lined with churches, standing shoulder to shoulder in a variety of architectural styles.


The story takes place in a small town isolated from the real world. Phillips to “wait and see”? When she mentioned that, Mr. She wants to become a car dealer but everyone has cars.

She nods appreciatively when Mr. In order to hcurches comments, please donalr sure JavaScript and Cookies are enabled, and reload the page.

It also seems to be a case that it is normal for people to live in the churches. Phillips is constantly hinting on how everyone lives in Prester. The bells that Cecelia encounters in the loft of one of the churches may also have some symbolic significance.

Taken from his Sadness collection the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator and after reading the story the reader realises that Barthelme may be exploring the theme of acceptance and conformity.

Short story: “A City of Churches” | lookihaveopinions

For example, the United Methodist was also a barber shop, and the Antioch Pentecostal doubled as the Board of Education. JoAnn September 22, at 6: She will be expected to live in the church of her choice and to work in a car rental business that is adjunct to another church.

It is easily one of my favorite short stories of all time. Posted by zuchowickis at 7: Whether these norms are correct is left to the reader to decide. Religion has quite obviously corrupted peoples’ minds in Prester.

Personally my response to this story before I did the research on it was that it was very strange and weird. He is a co-founder of Fiction Magazine and winner of numerous awards and accolades bartuelme writing. Loni September 21, at We have a lot of activities.

The story ends with Cecilia being told that she can’t leave and she responds churcues saying “Wait and see” Themes. John – It was, but I really liked it! I kind of enjoyed r eading this story not only because it was short but because it was all hiding the meaning and the theme.


JoAnn September 21, at 8: Phillips showing the town around to a woman named Cecelia, who is interested in starting a car rental business in the city. It sounds like something John Wyndham would have written if he didn’t write sci-fi. He selected one story per year from The Stepford Wives is as creepy a book as I’ve allowed myself to read.

Do you believe in unconditional love? Her options were living in a basement with two other women, or living in a dangerous bell tower.

Phillips clutches Cecelia’s arm and tells her that she belongs to Prestor, the perfect city. Phillps began to talk about the city he began to explain how the churches also xhurches held as places to stay like houses. Cecelia, the deceptively acquiescent young woman who is the focus of the story, is indeed a heroine in the very best sense of the word.

A City of Churches by Donald Barthelme

Rather they seem to completely embrace or believe it to be not only acceptable but also right that their lives are so entwined with the churches. In my research, I read that Barthelme is known as being “hilariously absurdist. They will in essence be going nowhere which further suggests the possibility of a continued paralysis for the people of Prester.

The immediate problem is where are barthelje to live? Other than that I clearly enjoyed reading this story it was like an adventure. Of the characters encountered in these three stories, Cecilia is unique.