The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

Trywell Kamkwamba Character Analysis

William’s father. A large, powerful man, Trywell had a reputation for drinking and fighting that got him in trouble until he decided to turn his life over to God and the Christian faith. William respects his father and idolizes his strength and generosity. Trywell teaches William how to be an upstanding member of the community who helps people in need and improves life for all. Trywell does not believe in the curses of Malawian magic, instead prioritizing education and business sense to imagine a better future for his children and the Malawian people.

Trywell Kamkwamba Quotes in The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

The The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind quotes below are all either spoken by Trywell Kamkwamba or refer to Trywell 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 2 Quotes

We traveled four hours north to the Wimbe trading center, where my relatives were waiting to greet us. They helped us move down the road to Masitala village and into a one-room house near Uncle John.
This is where my father became a farmer and my childhood began.

Related Characters: William Kamkwamba (speaker), Trywell Kamkwamba, Uncle John
Page Number: 38
Explanation and Analysis:
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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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My own problems didn't seem so important; the hunger belonged to the entire country. I decided to put faith in my father's word, that once we made it through the hunger, everything would be okay.

Related Characters: William Kamkwamba (speaker), Trywell Kamkwamba (speaker)
Page Number: 134
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 10 Quotes

At least with daughters, like my sister Annie, a father can hope they'll marry a husband who can provide a home and food, even help them continue their schooling. But with a boy it's different. My education meant everything to my father.

Related Characters: William Kamkwamba (speaker), Trywell Kamkwamba, Annie
Page Number: 183
Explanation and Analysis:
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Trywell Kamkwamba Character Timeline in The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

The timeline below shows where the character Trywell Kamkwamba appears in The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Science vs. Superstition and Magic Theme Icon
...he was terrified of magic. His earliest memory is of a time when his father, Trywell, saved him from magic. When William was six, he ate some bubble gum given to... (full context)
The Business of Survival Theme Icon
Science vs. Superstition and Magic Theme Icon
...When William can’t throw up, he runs back to his father and confesses his crime. Trywell goes back to the trader who originally owned the gum, explains that William didn’t know... (full context)
Science vs. Superstition and Magic Theme Icon
Trywell, William’s father, is a strong man who does not fear magic even though he still... (full context)
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
Science vs. Superstition and Magic Theme Icon
Trywell learned these magic stories from William’s grandfather. Grandpa is old enough that he remembers Malawi... (full context)
The Business of Survival Theme Icon
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
Science vs. Superstition and Magic Theme Icon
Trywell used to go hunting with Grandpa and follow a sacred ritual before each expedition. Grandpa... (full context)
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
Science vs. Superstition and Magic Theme Icon
...the rival evil of money) at his bed and praying his soul clean each night. Trywell scoffs at giving William kwacha bills to protect his room at night, believing that magic... (full context)
The Business of Survival Theme Icon
Science vs. Superstition and Magic Theme Icon
Trywell tells William a story about how he stopped believing in magic. In 1979, Trywell was... (full context)
The Business of Survival Theme Icon
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
When night fully falls, the children gather inside while Trywell lights a kerosene lamp and prepares to tell folktales. One of William’s favorite stories is... (full context)
The Business of Survival Theme Icon
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
Science vs. Superstition and Magic Theme Icon
...Always wish others well, as planning misfortune for others will come back to haunt you. Trywell is an excellent story teller, because he draws from experiences of his own life that... (full context)
Chapter 2
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
Education and Entrepreneurship Theme Icon
Trywell, William’s father, lived in Dowa during the 70s and 80s working as a traveling trader... (full context)
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
Education and Entrepreneurship Theme Icon
...criticized his policies. Yet Banda’s system was beneficial to traders and farmers in Malawi, and Trywell had many exciting experiences working with Muslim traders called the Yao. The Yao came to... (full context)
Rebirth, Recycling, and Reinvention Theme Icon
The Business of Survival Theme Icon
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
As a trader, Trywell worked at a huge bazaar in a town called Mangochi with goods and people from... (full context)
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
Trywell was a large man, and liked to fight while he was out drinking at night.... (full context)
The Business of Survival Theme Icon
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
At Fulumani’s concert, Trywell is ecstatic to hear the beautiful music. He begins dancing like a man possessed, until... (full context)
Rebirth, Recycling, and Reinvention Theme Icon
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
Trywell begins to watch a particular girl who comes to the market each morning, who William... (full context)
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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... (full context)
Rebirth, Recycling, and Reinvention Theme Icon
The first years of marriage are a dark time for Trywell. Trywell’s lifestyle of drinking and fighting begins to anger Agnes, and many of Trywell’s friends... (full context)
Rebirth, Recycling, and Reinvention Theme Icon
Science vs. Superstition and Magic Theme Icon
While in jail awaiting trial, the prosecutor Mister Kabisa tells Trywell that he will let Trywell go if Trywell becomes a Christian and dedicates himself to... (full context)
Rebirth, Recycling, and Reinvention Theme Icon
The Business of Survival Theme Icon
Education and Entrepreneurship Theme Icon
While Trywell had built a trading business, his brother John had established a farm near the districts... (full context)
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
Education and Entrepreneurship Theme Icon
John gives Trywell one acre of land to plant burley tobacco to sell and maize to eat. William... (full context)
Rebirth, Recycling, and Reinvention Theme Icon
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
As the Kamkwamba family grows, Trywell also has to build a new house to better fit the children. After working in... (full context)
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
Science vs. Superstition and Magic Theme Icon
...starts punching James, and William knows that Phiri’s mangolomera will soon beat James to death. Trywell comes to break up the noise, and Phiri begs Trywell to bring the sweet potato... (full context)
Chapter 3
The Business of Survival Theme Icon
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
...loss of Uncle John. Uncle John collapses in the tobacco field from untreated tuberculosis, and Trywell rushes to get a doctor from the hospital in Kasungu. Uncle John passes away before... (full context)
The Business of Survival Theme Icon
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
Education and Entrepreneurship Theme Icon
...family asks that the remaining Kamkwamba family care for John’s children like their own children. Trywell, Musaiwale, and Socrates then carry John’s coffin to the graveyard. (full context)
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
Education and Entrepreneurship Theme Icon
...Jeremiah does not have the right attitude for the hard work of running a farm. Trywell wishes that it weren’t customary to give a man’s holdings to his first-born, but he... (full context)
Chapter 4
The Business of Survival Theme Icon
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
As William and Trywell survey the sad state of their maize, William asks Trywell what will happen next year.... (full context)
Chapter 5
The Business of Survival Theme Icon
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
...that usually have a surplus to sell during the hunger season have nothing this year. Trywell advises William not worry, as the government keeps a surplus for these times and will... (full context)
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... (full context)
The Business of Survival Theme Icon
Agnes begins milling gaga into their maize flour and Trywell sells off their goats before the price drops too low. William is sad to see... (full context)
The Business of Survival Theme Icon
Education and Entrepreneurship Theme Icon
...hunger in the cool dawn hours, but by 7 o’clock William is tired and hungry. Trywell scolds him for slacking off on his ridges, and William tries to reapply himself despite... (full context)
Chapter 6
The Business of Survival Theme Icon
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
...crowds of people asking for food. William’s family mills their last sack of grain and Trywell announces that they will only eat once each day at supper. (full context)
The Business of Survival Theme Icon
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
The next evening, Trywell gathers the whole family for their one meal. Usually mothers and fathers do not dine... (full context)
The Business of Survival Theme Icon
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
Science vs. Superstition and Magic Theme Icon
...his mother getting rounder in the belly, but said nothing. When the daughter is born, Trywell and Agnes tell the children that the new baby had been bought at the clinic. (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... (full context)
Rebirth, Recycling, and Reinvention Theme Icon
The Business of Survival Theme Icon
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
When the Kamkwamba family has half a pail of flour left, Trywell announces that they are going to start a new business. Agnes makes small, sweet corn... (full context)
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
Education and Entrepreneurship Theme Icon
Trywell returns home and flies into a rage when he hears that Annie has eloped. Trywell... (full context)
The Business of Survival Theme Icon
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
...letting the Kamkwambas know where to collect a small dowry of a few hundred kwacha. Trywell becomes depressed after Annie leaves, though William is selfishly glad that they now have one... (full context)
Chapter 7
The Business of Survival Theme Icon
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
...her fair share of the food. Doris complains about Rose’s improper behavior, but Agnes and Trywell say nothing. Rose and Mayless, the youngest sisters, show the effect of low rations more... (full context)
The Business of Survival Theme Icon
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
...money out of the bank for fear that the government will steal that as well. Trywell withdraws the Kamkwambas’ entire savings and buys food for one week. (full context)
The Business of Survival Theme Icon
Education and Entrepreneurship Theme Icon
...He finds his father in the field that night and asks about money for school. Trywell shakes his head and promises that next year will be better. (full context)
The Business of Survival Theme Icon
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
...Malawi but that no one has died of hunger. Hearing this interview on the radio, Trywell shakes his head at the President’s willful blindness. William knows that it is up to... (full context)
Chapter 8
Rebirth, Recycling, and Reinvention Theme Icon
The Business of Survival Theme Icon
Uncle Socrates comes to visit Trywell the next day, and asks William where Khamba is. William pretends he doesn’t know, and... (full context)
The Business of Survival Theme Icon
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
Science vs. Superstition and Magic Theme Icon
All 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... (full context)
The Business of Survival Theme Icon
Education and Entrepreneurship Theme Icon
In Mid-February, William and Geoffrey help Trywell prune the tobacco crop. The boys wish they could eat the tobacco leaves as they... (full context)
The Business of Survival Theme Icon
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
...the ripe dowe they can find. Some farmers exact horrible revenge on these thieves, but Trywell counsels William that all Malawians faced the same hunger, and they must learn to forgive. (full context)
Chapter 10
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
Education and Entrepreneurship Theme Icon
As the new school term approaches, Trywell buys William new school supplies and William washes his uniform in preparation for a return... (full context)
The Business of Survival Theme Icon
Education and Entrepreneurship Theme Icon
...days, the grace period for paying school fees is nearly over and William worries because Trywell has not said anything about paying them. When Headmaster Phiri announces that students must pay... (full context)
The Business of Survival Theme Icon
Education and Entrepreneurship Theme Icon
...paying for another two weeks before the teachers catch him without a receipt of payment. Trywell goes to the teacher, Mister Tembo, pleading with him to let William stay until they... (full context)
The Business of Survival Theme Icon
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
Education and Entrepreneurship Theme Icon
Trywell is devastated that he doesn’t have the money to send William to school, and the... (full context)
The Business of Survival Theme Icon
Education and Entrepreneurship Theme Icon
William has no time to mourn the loss of school, as the harvest comes and Trywell needs help bringing in the maize crop. Though disappointed, William is satisfied to see all... (full context)
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
Education and Entrepreneurship Theme Icon
...pieces of machinery from the scrap yard and puzzles over their functions. Additionally, William asks Trywell if he can use the broken bicycle that Trywell has kept in the living room... (full context)
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
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...supporter. Even Agnes begins to worry that William will never have a normal life, through Trywell defends William’s project. (full context)
Chapter 11
Rebirth, Recycling, and Reinvention Theme Icon
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
Education and Entrepreneurship Theme Icon
...at an angle away from the strongest wind. He then attaches the windmill’s dynamo to Trywell’s radio to see if the windmill is producing any power. The radio plays music for... (full context)
Chapter 12
Rebirth, Recycling, and Reinvention Theme Icon
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
...even creates light switches out of PVC pipe and circles of material from a flip-flop. Trywell is incredibly proud of the Kamkwambas’ house powered by free electricity, and even prouder that... (full context)
Chapter 13
The Business of Survival Theme Icon
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
Education and Entrepreneurship Theme Icon
...to put mosquito netting around their beds. Agnes gets sicker more quickly than usual, and Trywell takes her to the large hospital on his bike. They give her two shots and... (full context)
Chapter 14
Malawian Culture and African Community Theme Icon
Education and Entrepreneurship Theme Icon
...explain how 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... (full context)