Those acts of God really stick it in and break it off

Agito a42

Senior Member
Source: From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), an American movie.

A man says his wife died in a car wreck (faulty brakes, rainy night), and that she was trapped in the wreck for six hours before she passed on.

Criminal: Those acts of God really stick it in and break it off, don't they?
Man: Yes, they do.


Could you explain this line to me? My best guess as to the meaning of the verbs:
"stick it in" stands for an act of penetration; "break it off", the end of a relationship. However, I don't really understand what they have to do with "acts of God".
 
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I think it’s an allusion to a knife being stuck in to someone and then the handle being broken off, so that the blade is almost impossible to remove. All meant figuratively, of course. It’s just a creative way of saying that “acts of God suck!”.

    There’s no doubt a connection to this phrase (definition from Oxford):

    stick (or get) the knife into (or in) someone

    PHRASE
    informal
    • Do something hostile or aggressive to someone.
     

    Agito a42

    Senior Member
    I see. Wound't have guessed. But just to be sure, does the criminal really apply the phrase to the man's wife, not the man himself? (I would think that the man is all alone now, it's he who suffers.)
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I see. Wound't have guessed. But just to be sure, does the criminal really apply the phrase to the man's wife, not the man himself? (I would think that the man is all alone now, it's he who suffers.)
    The criminal is Seth Gecko. The man whose wife died in the car crash is Jacob Fuller. Seth is actually commiserating with Jacob about how his wife died.
     

    Agito a42

    Senior Member
    I suppose in my previous post, I wasn't clear enough. My question is, who is the implied patient of "stick it in and break it off", the husband or the wife? From bennymix's explanation, it seems to be the wife, "stick it in" = the car wreck (because of faulty brakes and a rainy night), "break it off" = she couldn't get out of the car (which eventually led to her death).
     
    Last edited:

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    The comment was unlikely to be intended to be limited to the wife's death - those acts of God in general "stick it in and break it off." You could think of it as you suggested but it was not intended to be a precise analogy.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    You misunderstand. The remark is not directed at anyone at all. It’s just a metaphor (as Bennymix says) – meaning that something is unbelievably awful.

    The cause of the accident (a combination of faulty brakes and a wet road surface) probably isn’t technically an “act of God”, but Seth uses the term anyway to refer to the woman’s long drawn-out death. He’s simply remarking that “Acts of God are really cruel, aren’t they!”

    Seth is actually commiserating with Jacob about how his wife died.
    ACT OF GOD
    An instance of uncontrollable natural forces in operation (often used in insurance claims)


    cross-posted
     
    I see. Wound't have guessed. But just to be sure, does the criminal really apply the phrase to the man's wife, not the man himself? (I would think that the man is all alone now, it's he who suffers.)
    I think doji addressed this. Surely you can't mean "it's he who suffers"; the wife was caught in a car wreck and took hours to die. Kinda nasty. At the same time, sure, the hubby has to live with it after. So God has dealt him very harshly as well.
     
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