| Quote #7
There was the little church in the morning, with the green leaves fluttering at the windows, the birds singing without, and the sweet-smelling air stealing in at the low porch, and filling the homely building with its fragrance. (32.54)
The church in the Maylies’ country village doesn’t close people in, like the workhouses of the big institutionalized parishes that we’ve seen elsewhere. Nature seems to be in harmony with it – the windows let in light, and you can see the leaves outside, and hear the birds, and smell the flowers. So even though it’s a building – and associated with the same institutions that imprison and control poor people elsewhere – this particular building is designed to create a balance between culture and nature.
| Quote #8
"He said ‘God bless you’ to me when I ran away," cried the boy with a burst of affectionate emotion; "and I will say ‘God bless you’ now, and show him how I love him for it!" (51.9)
Oliver still remembers little Dick’s parting blessing, and everything he’s experienced between then and now has made him appreciate what he didn’t then understand – the difference between institutionalized religion, and individual piety.
| Quote #9
[…] but there are smiling fields and waving trees in England’s richest county, and by one village church – mine, Rose, my own – there stands a rustic dwelling which you can make me prouder of than all the hopes I have renounced. (51.99)
We can’t discuss the theme of "religion" in Oliver Twist without mentioning the fact that one of the main characters becomes a clergyman for the Church of England at the end. The Church of England is condemned in the early chapters as being too institutionalized and distant from everyday people and their needs. But here, the church is a part of the landscape – and it’s a country landscape – and it’s directly next to a home. In one breath, Harry announces his plans to be a clergyman, and his hopes of marrying Rose, and so unites everyday human life with the life of the church. But apparently that kind of harmony only works in the country?