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Analysis on Lynda Barry’s “One! Hundred! Demons!” Essay

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Updated: Jan 5th, 2022


“One Hundred Demons” by Lynda Barry is an autobiography that represents a helping guide for every grownup to understand their feelings and inner world. Although many people have different adolescence problems this book will fit everyone’s needs. It is possible to render the book’s content as a nice guide to get rid of the fears and guilt over past actions. The main theme of the “One Hundred Demons” is teaching how to heal oneself from past pains.

Book’s Thesis

For the sake of justice, it is to be mentioned that the book is a perfect implementation of a compelling narration due to its visual effects. One can hardly deny that Barry made her utmost to attract older readers to serious topics through entertaining methods. Namely, the book is colorful and reminds a scrapbook a little. Therefore, disregarding the age group “One Hundred Demons” is likely to make readers get lost in meditation about life’s circumstances and the ability to forgive and forget injustice. Lynda Barry pays much attention to the actual painting of your demons at the end of the book. It is amazing how the technique is described. The main guide to express your pains on the piece of paper is painting the demon right away, without any preparation. You simply have to put a brush on the paper and start dabbing. No wonder the inner world’s feelings will come out since you don’t have time for thinking about what to draw; all you do is merely follow the span of emotion communicated through hands. Another essential thing about “One Hundred Demons” by Lynda Barry is that she is so keen on touching people’s souls and feeling to the deepest. It is her perfect pitch for pre-teenage period problems that make even grown-ups cry because very often a person is not even aware of the problem still being there deep inside. Besides, there is something mystic about her language. The overall tone of “One Hundred Demons” is amazingly up to the point – it seems like the thoughts written within the autobiography are just the keys to everything. Moreover, it is surprising how Barry managed to make the ugly cute and the miscellaneous exact. It is amazing how the author makes people understand what they live their lives through when reading her book. The “autobifictionalography” is just something for a person to learn in terms of upbringing own children. Being a grown-up we don’t remember and understand the feeling we had over any specific problems from childhood and adolescence. However, when reading “One Hundred Demons” all of those come to the surface. It is impossibly unbelievable and unexpectedly great since it seems like you draw your demons yourself and hence get rid of your disgusting memories.

The Visual Devices

Talking about visual expressions of thoughts and emotions in the book the interesting illustrations must be described. Their importance is strengthened by the sketches, doodles, stamps, and glitter, and bric-a-brac details. In a word there is everything from magic to “cooties”, namely: “at school, when a person had “cooties” it didn’t mean lice, it meant something about you was so weird…” (17). This might help a person dive into serious themes of childhood abuse through the colorful wrapping. Moreover, I will tend to say that the entire book’s ornamentation helps mature people look at problems simply with humor. This might be a nice psychological trick because lots of grown-ups feel tired of life’s challenges. Hence, some problems seem to be a heavy load to think of, whereas such a fun interpretation of those tends to uncover the stronger memories of Barry and lead to mature thinking.

Honesty towards Oneself

Luckily, nowadays many books help readers unearth unexpected things from their souls. One of the burning topics is being honest with oneself. The literary works ”The Swim Team” by Miranda July and “Nausea 1979” by Haruki Murakami are a great chance for readers to see the dishonesty critically. Just as in “One Hundred Demons” the short story “The Swim Team” represents a nice autobiography told from the first person by the protagonist. The two stories are somewhat identical in terms of telling truth to oneself – admitting something, hence, taking a psychological load off one’s chest. In “The Swim Team” by Miranda July it is evident that people play roles when in relationships. However, once the author sees her ex-boyfriend with another woman she decides to write a letter to the ex about events that were not sexy enough to talk about when they were together. To be more exact, “This is the story I wouldn’t tell you when I was your girlfriend” (13). Therefore, let me say that in this story the most delicate edges of a human’s nature are touched. While The Swim Team is a story told from the perspective of the protagonist herself Nausea 1979 is told by the friend of the protagonist who watches the story developing from aside. This subsequently means that the story depicted is even more unbiased since the narrator adds his views and perspectives to what he sees, as in: “I found it hard to believe that such things could be carried off so easily, but he didn’t seem the type to spout a lot of nonsense just to make himself look good…” (144). In a word, it is evident that the issue of honesty and true confession is important for a person no matter what. The three pieces of writing are compelling for the readers to read and understand the inner world of one self through the stories of other people. Of course, it is sometimes very hard and almost impossible to get all the psychological issues of your mind clear on your own. The three literary pieces discussed above are perfect examples of how the prominent authors did it wonderfully. Often, people get much experience from these readings to understand the essence of human nature. Moreover, it is frequently noticed by the readers that the plot and various details of the stories under consideration entail vivid reminiscences from own live periods. It has to be said here that this is probably the main idea and purpose of the books’ plots – to arouse controversial feelings and subsequently heal the souls of readers by showing the commonly endured events.


As a result, the finest literary masterpiece that I have ever read is “One Hundred Demons” by Lynda Barry. She is just wonderful in terms of turning your soul upside-down. No matter how old the reader is there still is a place for sympathy, fun, and mutual understanding eth the author’s adolescent problems. Every comics and painting renders the common events every teenager has gone through. It is amazing how the author teaches us to be honest at least to ourselves through art and creativeness because honesty is the primary virtue. So, let’s keep being honest at least to ourselves since “The kind of lying that is most deadly is withholding. … Psychological illness of the severest kind is the result of this kind of lying” (Blanton, p.1)


Barry, Lynda. One Hundred Demons. Seattle: Sasquatch Books, 2005.

Blanton, Brad. Radical Honesty, The New Revised Edition: How to Transform Your Life by Telling the Truth. London: Sparrow Hawk Publications, 2005.

July, Miranda. “The Swim Team.” No One Belongs Here More Than You. New York: Scribner, 2007.

Murakami, Haruki. “Nausea 1979” Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006.

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