“Untoward Stories: A City of Churches / Donald Barthelme” by M.E. McMullen. Go to the profile of Untoward Magazine. Untoward Magazine. “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. 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 .

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Sounds absolutely bizarre and fascinating! Staci – This was definitely a strange story They will in essence be going nowhere which further suggests the possibility of a continued paralysis for the people of Prester. Just the whole idea of a town of churches sounds sinister and how he said to the car dealer that she may not be very religious “yet” Phillips and the other residents in Prester, Cecelia continues to have the ability to think for herself and live independently of others without the need to associate herself with any church or religion.

Prester is one strange town. None of the characters in the story, with the exception of Cecelia, appear to question whether it is normal or reasonable for their lives churxhes be chudches heavily associated with the churches in the town. As a creative person i enjoying sticking out in the crowd. Of the characters encountered in these three stories, Cecilia is unique.

“Untoward Stories: A City of Churches / Donald Barthelme” by M.E. McMullen

The ending of the story is also interesting as Barthelme appears to be further exploring the theme of conformity and independence. It’s supposed to have meaning and value and feel safe, but the effect of a city of churches is the opposite. I have a few belfry apartments that I can show you.

I agree that this story has that feeling. Religion has quite obviously corrupted peoples’ minds in Prester. What is the xonald of Cecelia’s bravery in the end of the story, especially when she tells Mr.


You’ll get integrated into the community soon enough. Monday, September 20, Short Story Monday: She is isolated, just as the others of Prestor are.

The fact that Cecelia also tells Mr. Even after being told that she has no option, Cecelia stays confident in herself and remains unphased. You have to love a story that lures you in with a perfectly straightforward voice and sets you down right into the middle of an absurdity, leaving you on your own to figure a way out. Newer Post Older Post Home.

Newer Post Older Post Home. It is her presence that takes the story beyond the ordinary. Is there one you can recommend? In my research, I read that Barthelme is known as being “hilariously absurdist. Never miss a story from Untowardwhen you sign up for Medium. Now this adds John Updike to my reading list. Sign in Get started. Armed with this knowledge, I bust out my trusty if not always fully documented, admittedly not totally scholarly source Wikipediawhich takes me right into the thick of it.

It does sound like it will get creepy. I finally got around to reading it. She nods appreciatively when Mr. In order to post comments, please make sure JavaScript and Cookies are enabled, and reload the page.

A City of Churches by Donald Barthelme

John Mutford September chudches, at 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.

The story ends with Cecilia being told that she can’t leave chrches she responds back saying “Wait and see” Themes.

Cecelia, the deceptively acquiescent young woman who is the focus of the story, is indeed donals heroine in the very best sense of the word. This story hid meaning, and lacked concept. 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. When Cecilia looked at the town she realized that the whole town was abrthelme up of churches.


The absurdity is Prester, a city of churches. 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. These conversations are my favorite part of blogging. Posted by AC at 7: When Cecelia was asked what denomination she belonged to, she replied that she can “dream” what ever she wants.

Matt September donalc, at 8: To imagine oneself living in this town citj Pres tor were one has no chance to be different.

Lakeside Musing: Short Story Monday: “A City of Churches” by Donald Barthelme

Instead of the feeling of community that would be expected in a city of churches houses of faiththe feeling of the story is isolation. In fact, the entire city was comprised of churches. Cecelia asked about where she could live if she decided to live in Prester, and she had very limited options.

Everything in Prester, she learns, every business, every club, every establishment, is affiliated in some way with a church.

Phillips even says that a car rental business implies that people would churvhes to leave the city, and that no one would ever want to do that. She cant live in a house because all the buildings are churches.

Throughout the story Cecelia continues to ask Mr. I just found a link to were the story can be read on the web: