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

Cecilia’s only options to live in Prestor I believe were a church, basement, and a bell tower.

A City of Churches by Donald Barthelme

None of the characters in the story, with the exception of Cecelia, appear to question whether it is normal or reasonable for their lives to be so heavily associated with the churches in chrches town. If anything Barthelme could be suggesting that each individual who lives in Prester or who runs donakd business in the town may be paralysed or may lack the ability to think for themselves outside the confines of the churches in town.

Thank you for taking the time to comment.

I have a few belfry apartments that I can show chutches. Attitude is probably more important than strictly when. I will have to add it to my favourites, so that I can read it when I get chance.

Short story: “A City of Churches” | lookihaveopinions

Your email address will not be published. She cant live in a house because all the buildings are churches. John – It was, but I really liked it! Whether these norms are correct is left to the reader to decide.


Staci – This was definitely a strange story He is generally regarded as one of our fine 20th Century American short story writers. The absurdity is Prester, a city of churches. There is no faith in this short story, and this lack of faith creates a creepy tone. The fact that Mr. Phillips says, but Cecilia knows better. It may also be significant that the Board of Education are also housed within a church as Barthelme could be highlighting that though the board has a responsibility to educate the children and future leaders in the town they may not necessarily have the ability to do so, particularly if they continue to associate themselves to the churches in the town.

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” It is also noticeable that each individual in Prester lives in a church which suggests the possibility that each individual in the town is also reliant on the churches for housing. It is her presence that takes the story beyond the ordinary.

Vivienne September 20, at 1: He is a co-founder of Fiction Magazine and winner of numerous awards and accolades for writing. As the late George Carlin observed: Never miss a story from Untowardwhen you sign up for Medium.

Barthelme’s name was familiar and I’m glad I finally got around to reading one of his stories. Barthelme, whose writing focused very much on contemporary culture, no doubt appreciated the irony. Newer Post Older Post Home. 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.


The name of this town is called Prestor. A City of Churches Both sides of the street were solidly lined with churches, standing shoulder to shoulder in a variety of architectural styles. Firstly by describing the man as being young Barthelme may be suggesting that Prester continues to grow or develop as it is a predominately religious town and rather than young people in the town questioning things they too like the older residents in Prester accept the status quo and conform to the accepted norms of the town.

As a creative person i enjoying sticking out in the crowd. She nods appreciatively when Mr. The second reason this line is important is that the young man also appears to be directly attempting to make sure that Cecelia does not stay in the town which would suggest not only hostility towards Cecelia but that the young man does not have the capacity to change or to allow change in Prester, which would further highlight that each individual in Prester remains paralysed.

Bit too literal, maybe?

Throughout the story Cecelia continues to ask Mr. Phillips questions and appears to have the ability to not only think for herself but to also formulate her own opinion.

Phillips implicated on to Cecilia that the town of Prestor is very religious.

The fact that everyon e is under control by one thing, I guessed would be the church. But I don’t know about more by this author.