11: Barrel - Part 2

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Barrel - Part 2
Original title: Barrel - Part 2
Awww.Original caption: The story continues.
Title text: Awww.

Original caption: The story continues.


This was the thirteenth comic originally posted to LiveJournal. The previous one was 14: Copyright, and the next one was 15: Just Alerting You. It was among the first thirteen comics posted to LiveJournal within 12 minutes on September 30, 2005, on the first day of the xkcd LiveJournal account.

As in the previous comic in the The Boy and his Barrel series, the boy is floating in the ocean inside a barrel. The previous comic made a point about the uncertainty of life; here, Barrel 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 third in a six-part series of comics whose parts were randomly published during the first several dozen strips. The series features Barrel Boy, a character that is different from what would quickly become the xkcd stick figure style. The full series can be found here. After Randall released the full The Boy and his Barrel story on the site, it became clear that the original comic 20: Ferret was also part of the series. The comics are listed in the order chosen by Randall:


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

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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)