Snowed in

A daily New Yorker cartoon by Emily Flake:


This is comprehensible at one level, without any further background information: the kid’s boredom has driven him to a murderous rage. But it’s much richer if you know your movies.

From Wikipedia, with some relevant pieces of the plot:

The Shining is a 1980 British-American psychological horror film produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick, co-written with novelist Diane Johnson, and starring Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, and Scatman Crothers. The film is based on Stephen King’s 1977 novel of the same name, although the film and novel differ in significant ways.

Jack Torrance arrives at the Overlook Hotel, interviewing for the position of winter caretaker, planning to use the hotel’s solitude to write. The hotel, built on the site of a Native American burial ground, becomes snowed in during the winter; it is closed from November to May. Manager Stuart Ullman warns Jack that a previous caretaker, Charles Grady, developed cabin fever and killed his family and himself. In Boulder, Jack’s son, Danny, has a terrifying premonition about the hotel, viewing a cascade of blood emerging from an elevator door. Jack’s wife, Wendy, tells a doctor that Danny has an imaginary friend named Tony and that Jack has given up drinking because he hurt Danny’s arm following a binge.

… A month passes; while Jack’s writing goes nowhere, Danny and Wendy explore the hotel’s hedge maze. Wendy becomes concerned about the phone lines being out due to the heavy snowfall and Danny has frightening visions. Jack, increasingly frustrated, starts acting strangely and becomes prone to violent outbursts.

… Danny writes “REDRUM” on the outside of the bathroom door in the family’s quarters. When Wendy sees this in the bedroom mirror, the letters spell out “MURDER”. Jack begins chopping through the quarters’ main door with a fire axe.

In the cartoon, bringing things up to date, though the phone lines may be out, Wendy has a cellphone. But they’re still snowed in, and Danny is maniacally writing REDRUM on the door.

Here’s a DeviantArt composition on The Shining, by Footix86:


Very creepy movie.

Syntactic note, to point out the extraposed- all construction in

(We’re) a little bored with all this snow is all. ‘The only thing is (that) we’re a little bored with all this snow; all I have to say is (that) we’re a little bored with all this snow’

I think I’ve seen some discussion of this idiomatic construction in the literature, but haven’t been able to find them. It has, however, gotten a subentry in OED3 (November 2010), in Phrases under the verb be:

U.S. and Canad. colloq. is all (also was all) : ‘that is (or was) all’, ‘that is all there is to be said’.

[first cite] 1939   J. Fante Wait until Spring, Bandini vi. 134   Expensive? Naaaw. Three hundred, is all.

3 Responses to “Snowed in”

  1. Robert Coren Says:

    For those of us in certain places, this cartoon is all too appropriate.

    Also: “Emily Flake”? Really?

  2. Nancy Friedman Says:

    For years there was a popular burger joint in Davis, California, called Murder Burger. When a second location opened in nearby Rocklin, the upright citizens of that burg protested the name, so in 2001 the business name was changed to Redrum Burger.

    P.S. The Rocklin location didn’t last long.

    More here:

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