“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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Phillips clutches Cecelia’s arm and tells her that she belongs to Prestor, the perfect city. There is no faith in this short story, and this lack of faith creates a creepy tone. This is how we know that this whole entire story is about religion.

Short Story Analysis: A City of Churches by Donald Barthelme – The Sitting Bee

Cecelia nodded, following his pointing hand. And Nicole Kidman kind of feels isolated because she is the only one which is different.

Phillips was clearly unhappy with Cecelia’s attitude towards Prester, and her wanting to live alone. It’s as if Prestor is just superficial and the churches are just empty shells. She cant live in a house because all the buildings are churches. 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.


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. 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.

Phillips to “wait and see”? In A City of Churches by Donald Barthelme we have the theme of acceptance, conformity, reliance, religion, paralysis and independence.

Untoward Stories: A City of Churches / Donald Barthelme

Maybe a little fundamental? JoAnn September 20, at 8: Even after being told that she has no option, Cecelia stays confident in herself and remains unphased. This may be important as it suggests that Cecelia has the capacity to live her life independently of harthelme or outside the accepted norms that appear to exist in Prester.

Cecilia’s only options to live in Prestor I believe were a church, basement, and a bell tower. Teddy Rose – Let me know what you think Get updates Get updates.

He is generally regarded as one of our fine 20th Century American short story writers. Vivienne – It can’t get too creepy with just 4 pages, citu it was enough to make me feel a little uncomfortable. It does sound like it will get creepy. For example, the United Methodist was also a barber shop, and the Antioch Pentecostal doubled as the Board of Education.


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

The fact that Cecelia intends narthelme open a car rental business may also be symbolically important as for the majority of people the purpose of a car whether it is a rental or not is to go from one place to another. JoAnn January 3, at 6: Now this adds John Updike to my reading list.

For example the Board of Education, barbershops, and homes are all found in the churches. None of the characters in the story, with the exception of Cecelia, appear to question whether it is normal or reasonable donalv their lives to be so heavily associated with the churches in the town.

A City of Churches by Donald Barthelme

Sebbass’ view of the best short stories of 20th Century American Literature. Phillips replies that she may not be very religious yet. It is made up entirely of churches. It sounds like something John Wyndham would have written if he didn’t garthelme sci-fi.

We have a lot of activities. All of our churches have many extra rooms. Something that is noticeable churcches the reader discovers that the barber shop in Prester is located within a church. Cecelia asked about where she could live if she decided to live in Prester, and she had very limited options.