11: Barrel - Part 2

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Barrel - Part 2
Title text: Awww.


Like in the previous comic in the, the boy is floating in the ocean in a barrel. The previous comic made a point about the uncertainty of life; here, the boy's lament at not finding a mother is pure sentimentality, as accentuated by the title text.

According to Freud, the first stage of psycho-sexual development is the Oral Stage, which relates to a baby's relationship with its mother. The realization that 'mommy' cannot be found is the first point at which a person learns to stop trusting the world and realizes that the world is not always comforting and safe.

This is the second in a six-part series of comics whose parts were randomly published during the first several dozen strips. The series features a character that is not consistent with what would quickly become the xkcd stick figure style. The character is in a barrel.

After Randall released the full The Boy and his Barrel story on xkcd, it has been clear that the original Ferret story should also be included as part of the barrel series.

The full series can be found here. But below they are listed in the order Randall has put them in his collection linked to above:


[A boy sits in a barrel which is floating in an ocean.]
Boy: none of the places i floated had mommies.


  • This was the 13th comic originally posted to LiveJournal.
  • This comic kept its original title: "Barrel - Part 2 "
  • Original Randall quote: "The story continues."
  • This was one of the thirteen first comics posted to LiveJournal within 12 minutes on Friday September 30, 2005.
  • This comic was posted on xkcd when the web site opened on Sunday the 1st of January 2006.
    • It was posted along with all 41 comics posted before that on LiveJournal as well as a few others.
    • The latter explaining why the numbers of these 41 LiveJournal comics ranges from 1-44.
  • One of the original drawings drawn on checkered paper.
  • The drawing style is very reminiscent of the Little Prince.

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None of the places you floated probably had land either. Davidy22[talk] 14:08, 8 January 2013 (UTC)

Maybe there's a chance this is a Doctor Who reference; The Empty Child http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Empty_Child aired 4 months before this comic, with the iconic "Are you my mommy?" quote. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Elián González reference? Mountain Hikes (talk) 23:15, 22 August 2015 (UTC)

What was the purpose of the paragraph about Freud's worldview/theories? The comic doesn't mention Freud. 19:06, 6 September 2015 (UTC)

In the second part of this fable, the boy's optimism has been replaced with disappointment. He's a little older and, perhaps, a little wiser for having endured setbacks and persevered. He doesn't reference his mommy or a mommy. He says he found, "[no] mommies." The mother-child bond is often considered the strongest human bond. The loss of this bond is explored in the 'Freud' section of the 'Explanation.' It appears that the boy has repeatedly chosen to return to his barrel and continue his quest for some kind of connection, rather than remain in a place without it. --DP9000 (talk) 02:03, 22 February 2016 (UTC)