The character of Agnes Kamkwamba in The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

Agnes Kamkwamba Character Analysis

William’s mother. A Yao (Muslim cultural group) Malawian, Agnes supports her children, stretching the food as much as possible through the famine and opening a small food stand to keep food on the table for her children. Though a devoted mother, Agnes does not fully understand William’s crazy inventions but tries to support his dreams anyway.

Agnes Kamkwamba Quotes in The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

The The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind quotes below are all either spoken by Agnes Kamkwamba or refer to Agnes Kamkwamba. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Rebirth, Recycling, and Reinvention Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the William Morrow edition of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind published in 2010.
Chapter 7 Quotes

My parents never scolded Rose for taking more than her share. But Doris soon reached her breaking point. Over the past weeks she'd become paranoid, fearing she wouldn't get any food at supper and my parents wouldn't help her.

Related Characters: William Kamkwamba (speaker), Trywell Kamkwamba, Agnes Kamkwamba, Doris, Rose
Page Number: 126
Explanation and Analysis:

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Agnes Kamkwamba Character Timeline in The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

The timeline below shows where the character Agnes Kamkwamba appears in The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Rebirth, Recycling, and Reinvention Theme Icon
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
...girl who comes to the market each morning, who William reveals will become William’s mother, Agnes. Agnes notices Trywell staring and asks about his reputation. The stories of Trywell’s fights excite... (full context)
Rebirth, Recycling, and Reinvention Theme Icon
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
After the initial meeting, Trywell asks Agnes each day to marry him. Agnes’ older brother, Bakili, warns Agnes about Trywell’s reputation for... (full context)
Rebirth, Recycling, and Reinvention Theme Icon
...are a dark time for Trywell. Trywell’s lifestyle of drinking and fighting begins to anger Agnes, and many of Trywell’s friends die or are put in jail. One of Trywell’s clients,... (full context)
Chapter 3
The Business of Survival Theme Icon
...mother who is producing milk, as that is the only cure for the sap. Luckily, Agnes has just had a baby and is still breastfeeding. The boys lead Charity to William’s... (full context)
Chapter 4
The Business of Survival Theme Icon
Science vs. Superstition and Magic Theme Icon
...of the cooler early morning for the exhausting work of breaking the dry, hard ground. Agnes prepares corn porridge and sends him to the field with a warning not to cut... (full context)
Chapter 5
The Business of Survival Theme Icon
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
William trusts his father, but overhears a troubling conversation one day between Trywell and Agnes. At a rally called by the Malawi Congress Party that had supported President Banda, Trywell... (full context)
The Business of Survival Theme Icon
Agnes has been cooking meals as usual, and William has been eating as much as he... (full context)
The Business of Survival Theme Icon
Agnes begins milling gaga into their maize flour and Trywell sells off their goats before the... (full context)
Chapter 6
The Business of Survival Theme Icon
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
Science vs. Superstition and Magic Theme Icon
Matters get even worse for the Kamkwamba family when Agnes gives birth to another daughter. Children in Malawi are supposed to respect their parents by... (full context)
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
Education and Entrepreneurship Theme Icon
Trywell and Agnes are obviously worried about their family’s situation, and are too preoccupied to give the new... (full context)
Rebirth, Recycling, and Reinvention Theme Icon
The Business of Survival Theme Icon
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
...pail of flour left, Trywell announces that they are going to start a new business. Agnes makes small, sweet corn cakes to sell at the market in the hopes that they... (full context)
The Business of Survival Theme Icon
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
One Sunday as Agnes takes her sweet cakes to the market, she notices two young men talking to Annie... (full context)
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
Education and Entrepreneurship Theme Icon
...home and flies into a rage when he hears that Annie has eloped. Trywell and Agnes had been very proud of Annie and her studies in high school, and had scraped... (full context)
The Business of Survival Theme Icon
A week later, Agnes sends William to the ADMARC one town away to see if rumors of maize at... (full context)
Chapter 7
The Business of Survival Theme Icon
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
Agnes still bakes hot cakes every day, bringing one hundred fresh corn cakes to the market... (full context)
The Business of Survival Theme Icon
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
As the price of maize continues to rise, Agnes can make fewer hot cakes and the Kamkwambas’ profits shrink. The blob of nsima at... (full context)
Chapter 8
The Business of Survival Theme Icon
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
...with fluids and too weak to walk. Geoffrey is even struck blind in bright light. Agnes takes half of their family’s flour for the day and takes it to Geoffrey’s mother... (full context)
The Business of Survival Theme Icon
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
Science vs. Superstition and Magic Theme Icon
...of the Kamkwambas have lost perilous amounts of weight. Trwyell begins weighing himself obsessively, but Agnes refuses to weigh herself and forbids the children from approaching the scale. Agnes tells her... (full context)
Chapter 9
Rebirth, Recycling, and Reinvention Theme Icon
Education and Entrepreneurship Theme Icon
...maize cob to bore holes in the PVC pipe and wire it to the blades. Agnes catches William heating his drill on her cook fire and tells William to stop messing... (full context)
Chapter 10
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
Science vs. Superstition and Magic Theme Icon
...through garbage. With Geoffrey away working with Uncle Musaiwale, Gilbert is William’s only supporter. Even Agnes begins to worry that William will never have a normal life, through Trywell defends William’s... (full context)
Chapter 11
Rebirth, Recycling, and Reinvention Theme Icon
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
...and Gilbert return to help William hoist the windmill on top of the tower. Using Agnes’ clothesline wire, the boys make a pulley system and take half an hour to pull... (full context)
Chapter 13
Rebirth, Recycling, and Reinvention Theme Icon
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
Education and Entrepreneurship Theme Icon
...to see if the feces will let off biogas. Before William can check his experiment, Agnes comes into the kitchen yelling about the terrible smell. William attempts to justify his experiment... (full context)
The Business of Survival Theme Icon
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
Education and Entrepreneurship Theme Icon
In 2003, Agnes goes to visit her parents in Salima and returns with malaria. Almost everyone in sub-Saharan... (full context)
The Business of Survival Theme Icon
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
Science vs. Superstition and Magic Theme Icon
...of the hospital itself, and seeing his mother looking so sick in the hospital bed. Agnes later tells William that she had already given up on life, but couldn’t leave this... (full context)
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
Science vs. Superstition and Magic Theme Icon
Soon after Agnes returns home from the hospital, Gilbert tells William that Chief Wimbe is very ill. After... (full context)
Chapter 14
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
Education and Entrepreneurship Theme Icon
...he built the windmill and wired his house with electricity. Dr. Mchazime tells Trywell and Agnes that William is an amazing boy for being able to do all this with little... (full context)