"Heaven was a word; Hell was something he could trust."
Religion is a significant aspect of Graham Greene's Brighton Rock. It gives the reader a chance to explore the religious beliefs and workings that take place in the mind of each of the characters. Religion is not only a matter of the character's beliefs, but is also an important factor in the dilemmas and situations they confront. Whether through Hale's funeral and Ida's unconventional belief system, or Pinkie and Rose's Catholicism and under-age marriage, religion provides a backdrop against which the events of the book are set. Perhaps more uncomfortable however, is the suggestion of an inversion of the Seven Sacraments through which Pinkie passes - perhaps on his way to "...something he could trust".
Hale's funeral is a subtle introduction of the theme of religion in the novel. Its main purpose is to examine Ida's controversial beliefs and views, as well as creating grey areas surrounding what is right and wrong.
Both before and after the funeral service Ida says, "I like a funeral". This gives an immediate shock value, and taken out of context, gives a very negative image of Ida. Greene expands this, however, to explain that she liked a funeral as most people "...like a ghost story". Even though Greene actually states that Ida is not religious, the reader gets the impression that Ida has a religion of her very own - a religion that believes "...only in ghosts, ouija boards" and "...little inept voices speaking plaintively of flowers". Greene uses Ida's attitude to Christianity, to possibly reflect his own uncertainty. Ida believes that "...papists treat death with flippancy" and that life was not as important to them as death, and what comes after death. Ida's belief system therefore, stands as an alternative to...