I got the point of painting the house as a symbol to kill someone because when you shot someone in the head and he is in front of wall, wall will get painted with the blood. But how is doing "your own carpentry" relate to handling the dead bodies. For recap, this dialogue came up when Frank talked to Jimmy for the first time about how he is a "painter" and do his own "carpentry"?

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    I don't think you should read too much into it. Firstly, this may not be completely accurate -- films about organized crime are inaccurate since the actual criminals tend to not want to reveal things. Secondly, related to the first, mob guys always spoke obscurely in case they were being recorded. They used nicknames for associates for this reason and it makes sense that they would also use code words for different crimes. But they were not writers concerned with symbolism -- many were functionally illiterate.
    – releseabe
    Aug 16, 2020 at 4:29
  • @releseabe This isn't about real criminals, this is a question about a work of fiction that was written by people who aren't illiterate and are known to occasionally employ symbolism.
    – Cubic
    Aug 16, 2020 at 12:34
  • @Cubic the movie was based on fact -- the phrase about house painting is the title of the supposedly factual bio of a real person.
    – releseabe
    Aug 16, 2020 at 12:37

1 Answer 1


If "painters" paint with blood, then the same line of thinking would suggest that "carpenters" put people in wooden boxes, i.e. handle and dispose of dead bodies.

  • Until the book which I saw when it first came out, I had never heard this term before. (In any other book or movie -- for example, despite the murders in The Godfather or Goodfellas, it does not come up and I also read Fratiano's bio where many murders occur and the term is not used.) I wonder if this term was invented by Frank S. He does not seem like a guy who would coin a euphemism but it is a fairly obvious euphemism if your MO is shooting people inside of houses.
    – releseabe
    Mar 24, 2022 at 12:29

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