Thursday, September 1, 2011

Question of the Week (9/1/11)




Focusing on some of the motifs mentioned in class (use your in-class notes as reference), write two paragraphs supporting one of the motifs and integrate 3 different quotes which support your points. This is excellent practice for your in-class essay on Tuesday. Remember to use MLA format when citing.
After you have finished your paragraphs, read another classmates' writing and provide constructive criticism. This week, even if you're first, you must peer review another's post. Post your paragraphs by Monday at midnight -- you get some extra time this holiday weekend!

33 comments:

andrew said...

first

Education is a big motif in this book. The author, William Kamkwamba, really loves education and its easy to see why. His education and thirst for knowledge is what drove him to build the windmill. even though he cannot afford to go to school because of the famine, he still figures out how to buld a windmill that generates electricity. he really has the drive to succeed "If you want to make it, all you have to do is try" (226). It really hurts him and his father when he cannot afford to go to school. He thinks he feels worse than his father about it but "education meant everything to my father" (173).

He really wants to further his education and use it to better his country and the rest of Africa and the world. "I talk about creating a new kind of Africa, a place of leaders instead of victims, a home of innovation rather than charity" (270). He really wants to better the leadership of Africa, as dictators and terrible presidents rule many countries. He feels like he and others can make Africa strong with education and that is why education is such a strong motif in this book.

PaulH said...

2nd Post,

One of the most significant motifs that stood out was family. In the start if the book when William was explaining and talking about his family he told the story about his dad the ”pope”. And he talked about how his dad was known to be as one of the strongest men in the village and how he always got drunk and some one tried to fight him. “The man was drunk and looking to fight the biggest guy in the room. Well my father gave him what he wanted and more”(35). This issue is later resolved because he marries “Agnes” who later with the help of the preacher convinces him to stop getting drunk and to change his life style.
Another example of family in the book is how William decides to make a windmill to help out his family and their living conditions. But while he was building the windmill he was harassed and questioned by his mother if he was wasting his time or going mad. But he all proved them wrong. “’Electric wind!’ I shouted. ‘I told you I wasn’t mad’” (204). This helps to provide his family with electricity and water.

andrew said...

Paul, family does seem like a very important motif, but you might want to expand/correct your second paragraph a little bit. You include him fighting with his parents and them calling him crazy, which to me, doesnt really sound like it brings out the family motif. And remember, his family isnt just him and his parents, he has a lot of sisters and cousins, especially geoffrey, but all in all good work, just include a little more detail

Catherine C. said...

One of the most memorable scenes from The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind was the description of the famine. The horrible deaths, the sacrifice of William's family, and the general motif of perseverance. Perseverance is required in any life, for any organism living on this earth. Perseverance translates into the will to survive in a situation such as William's, when a full belly at dinner was neither a given nor a luxury, but a very gift from heaven. As William describes when he tastes the first ripe ears of dowe when the plant finally matures, "the kernels were meaty and warm and filled with the essence of God... Each time I swallowed was like returning something that was lost, some missing part of my being" (157). The passage reflects quite literally the fruits of perseverance, the mana-like dowe that seems to reward and fulfill William for the way he has hung onto life throughout the famine, a reward for his unwillingness to give up.
 Perseverance was also required of William when he was inspired to build the windmill. Not only did her have to work around his lack of education, there were many other external hurdles for William to overcome in the building process. The hard, manual labor needed to acquire the various parts, salvaged from broken machinery on many hot and sunny days, or the taunts of the villagers and his peers, even his own mother, who doubted his very sanity at times. Still, William continued his work, his sense of perseverance fueled by his dream of building a successful windmill, of giving his home energy. It is our dreams, or rather our various motivations that inspire us to persevere and continue with the task at hand. For William, it was not hard to think of a motive. “A windmill meant more than just power, it meant freedom” (169). Power, freedom, and our very dreams can and are all achieved through sheer perseverance, a prevalent motif in The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.

Olivia Licciardi said...

Famine is a huge motif in " The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind." there is actually two famines in the story, but the main one is where all their crops die and they get really sick and they fight over maize flour, and it seems like it goes on forever, but then they get some hope when their corn begins to regrow.
William and his family suffer greatly during the famine, although none of them die, they become severely malnurished, bones jutting out of their skin, their friend Geoffrey, his knees are swollen and pussy, and they all feel exhausted all the time. That is a side effect of not eating very well. The day William goes to Chamama to get corn flour, he sees things that horrify him. “ An old man in front of me could hardly stay awake. His hands trembled as if he was cold, and his breathing was heavy. When the line advanced a step, his body couldn't follow, and he collapsed to the ground. To my horror, the crowd simply stepped over him. In the next line, babies cried and wailed from hunger, and children tugged on their mother's dresses, begging for breakfast. If there's anything I remember most about that day in Chamama, it's the sound of crying babies” (108).
Another time when famine affects William's family is when his cousin, Charity, who doesn't have any food for Christmas, who William finds sitting alone in the clubhouse, hungry, and tired, they decide that they really want meat, so they go to the meat stand and find James, who gives them goat skin, that has lingering bits of meat on it, so they cook it, and eat it, sharing it with Khamba, William's dog, savoring every last piece. “ I lost count of how many pieces I ate myself. But after about half an hour of chewing, Charity and I gave up. Our jaws were too tired and too sore to continue. Several large pieces of skin remained in the pot, and thought about my sisters and parents who were at home probably hungry and daydreaming of meat on this Christmas. But I didn't dare ask Charity to share. It was a well known rule that whatever happened in mphala stayed in mphala. We'd eat the pieces ourselves the next day” ( 120).

PaulH said...

Andrew post response,
I would work on your intro to the quotes and explain a little more why education really matters. Use the quote sandwich technique more often. Nice ending!

PaulH said...

End of 2nd post,
These are just a few examples of what William does for his family and what hard ships they are able to over come.

Sydney S. said...

Perseverance is a major motif in this book. William Kamkwanba, the author of Boy Who Harnessed The Wind, pushes through all his troubles like famine, his sister leaving, dropping out of school, his dogs death and the constant teasing he received for pursuing what he believed in. He didn’t know that anything would end up coming out of him building a windmill, all he new was that he wanted to make electricity. He persevered so that he could help his family live a better life. After months of working day in and day out on the windmill people started to wonder so he worked even harder and the day he started it up, he couldn't have been happier. He said, “It was glorious light, and it was absolutely mine! I threw my hands in the air and screamed with joy. I began to laugh so hard i became dizzy. Dangling now by one arm with the bulb burning bright in my hand, I looked down at the eyes below - now wide in disbelief (204).
After he new he could make electricity with his windmill, he knew that he wanted to do more. He continued to read his books from the library. He spent days in the scrapyard looking for the parts he had read about. Eventually he was able to build electric outlet powered by the windmill where he was able to charge the communities mobile phones. There we constantly people traveling through his town making pit stops to see his windmill. One day the right man saw the windmill and invited him to an inventors convention. All his work had payed off, he told his story to people that cared. At that moment he knew that his hard work and perseverance had paid off. He said, “I expected the audience to laugh at my silly english, but to my surprise, all I heard was applause. Not only were people clapping, but they stood up in there seats and cheered. And when i finally returned to my chair, I noticed that several of them were even crying. After all those years of trouble- the famine and constant fear for my family, dropping out of school and my fathers grief, Kamba’s death and the teasing I received trying to develop an idea- after all that, I was finally being recognized for the first time in my life, I felt I was surrounded by people who understand what I did. A great weight seemed to leave my chest and fall to the assembly hall floor” (269).
I agree with Olivia that, yes, the famine may have been an important topic within the book but it isn’t necessarily reoccurring, its just at one point. It is very unfortunate that it happened to there family but it does get better eventually with no deaths in the family. I think there are many more prominent motifs that reoccur throughout the story. Besides that, I believe you did a wonderful job intertwining the quotes into your paragraphs!

Billy DeLucia said...

One motif in the book was curiosity. William furthered his education and eventually built his windmill based on the knowledge obtained with his curiosity. This started with his natural scientific curiosity. "'What made the lamp go off'" (74). William would go on to understand the dynamo lighting the lamp on the bike before starting his windmill project. This natural curiosity wasn’t an isolated case however it was a constant. William learned about many things with no clear motive, including radios, which he learned how to fix and gathered some basic understanding of electricity. With his curiosity William greatly furthered his scientific knowledge and this became a large topic in the book but his curiosity was not limited to science alone.
William’s curiosity extended into the supernatural as well. Shown when William had his friend Shabani give him the power of mangolomera. "'We'll start with your left hand, cutting the knuckles and inserting the medicine into your veins. Then we'll do the right'
'why the left hand first?'"(42). As hard as he tried William had a hard time getting his mind wrapped around magic. The witch planes and soccer games played with human heads ever evaded his complete understanding.
In response to the motif of family I agree that it was an important motif of the book. I wish the author would have written deeper into the relationships of the family members. One even in particular that was not described to my satisfaction was when William’s sister left to marry the schoolteacher. William’s personal feelings on this event were nowhere to be found. Unorganized

Nick said...

Perseverance is a major motif in The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. William Kamkwamba had to overcome the difficulty of having no support from his village while he worked on the windmill. William worked hard despite people thinking he was crazy, which for a fourteen year old boy is very hard to shrug off. His only support came from his father who protected his ideas from other people. "'William has a project,' my father said. 'And if he's really wasting time, he'll be proven wrong eventually. You girls worry about yourselves and go to work'" (187). It was important to William to have his father stand up for his ideas to the rest of the family because it gave William motivation to continue working on his project knowing that his father stood by it.
Even though his father stood by him, the rest of the village thought he was crazy. William had to cope with the ridicule of the whole village during his experimenting on windmills. “‘Iwe, he’s not a man - just a lazy boy who plays with toys. He’s misala”’ (190). The town thought of him as crazy, not understanding what his project could accomplish for the village. William never really thought too much of other’s opinions. He more or less shrugged off what people said, not taking it to heart. For a fourteen year old boy it takes incredible perseverance to not care what people thought of his work. “‘Something like that’ I said smiling. ‘Just wait. Soon you’ll be in for a surprise, along with everyone else’” (196). William used how the village would react as motivation to his project. He knew that in the end, the windmill would help many people and the months of ridicule would be worth that.
In response to Billy’s curiosity motif, I agree that without William’s natural curiosity, the windmill would have meant nothing to him, and would have never made it out of the thought process. I think the the author showed his background of curiosity for science well, going back to the radios and learning basic electrical circuits.

John Gehlbach said...

Throughout the novel, The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind, magic remains an important motif. In Malawi, magic is a religion and a way of life. Even the protagonist, William Kamkwamba, remembers his early childhood revolving around magic. When thinking of his past, William thought, “Before I discovered the miracles of science, magic ruled the world. Magic and its many mysteries were a presence that hovered about constantly, giving me my earliest memory as a boy” (3). Magic was everywhere in Malawi and deeply rooted in society. Even William, a pursuer of science, has interactions with magic in his youth.

Part of magic’s role in Malawian culture is to teach and explain how the world works. William heard stories of magic from his father when he was young. Similarly, William’s father heard these same stories from his father. This generational transfer of magic stories demonstrates the importance of magic as a tradition. William and his siblings would gather together to listen to their father, “My sisters and I would sit at my father’s feet, and he’d explain the ways of the world, how magic had been with us from the beginning. Magic existed as a third and powerful force.” (6). Magic clearly is important as it offers explanations and history to the people of Malawi. Whether or not the stories were accurate, magic still filled the need for people to know how things work and where they come from. William is a perfect example of how people have the curiosity to know things. Though magic might have not satisfied William, it still provided explanations and established morals for the people of Malawi.

John Gehlbach said...

In response to Billy,

If I had pursued curiosity as a motif I would have never thought about how it relates to magic and other things besides science. You were creative to relate William's curiosity not just to the obvious scientific creations. The only thing I would change is to add a question mark after the first quote, as you did with the second. Also, the post seems to end abruptly. Perhaps some kind of closing sentence would help.

DavidD. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DavidD. said...

From my reading in the book, I have come to the conclusion that one of the important motifs in the story is family. William wanted to make a windmill not because he wanted fame or money or any other type of motivation other than the desire to help his family in tough times. He was willing to continue his effort to build the windmill even though he was often taunted by the people around him for being a “madman”. Despite the constant taunts William continued his work on the windmill in hopes of helping his family. This is a sign of dedication to his family to me.


I believe dedication is another big motif in this story. William worked extremely hard on this project because of the love for his family and his selfless dedication to keep them alive and healthy. This dedication is also a cause for building the windmill from he said when asked about how he built the windmill: “hard work and lots of research” (205). Even after the successful windmill William wanted to take his idea even further in hopes of ending famines and helping his people. This is hinted when he said: “I did it, and now I’m going bigger now! Just wait and see!” (204). William’s father was also very dedicated to keeping his family alive doing anything he could to make sure that his family lived happy, educated lives. His desire to help his family is described in this quote: “All of my kids will stay in school. I’ll do whatever it takes” (253). William’s dedication to help his family and his people, combined with his father’s desire to keep his family alive is very inspiring and made me come to the conclusion of dedication being a motif.

Philip Caffry said...

Magic and faith in God are the first major motifs in that you can see in the book The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. William is very confused and scared of magic in the beginning of the book, and that really sets the tone for the first part of the book. Since William is so afraid of Magic he confronts his dad and asks him if he fears Magic. His dad replies that he doesn’t because of a car accident that he was in, one that he nearly died in. “‘After that happened, how can I believe in wizards and charms? A magic man would have tried these things and died. I was saved by the power of God. Respect the wizards, my son, but always remember, with God on your side, they have no power’” (14) His father is a huge part of Williams life and he believes what he believes.

Another big motif is obviously the famine. The famine drives him to build the windmill. The famine is what makes him unable to afford his schooling. If it weren'tfor the famine in Malawi. This book probably wouldn't have been published. The famine drives William to succeed in everthing. "we were all upset about Annie, but what we didn't admit was that her absence now meant a little more food. With her gone, each person got an extra mouthfull at supper" (100). The famine also makes him look on the bright side of everything. I agree with Catherine that the Famine also represents perserverence.

Brett M. said...

In The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba, a main theme is determination. However, there is something that makes William so determined to change his village. In his culture, family is a strong notion. It is all they really have in a world with few material possessions. Williams thoughts and concerns for his family fuel his determination.

In a place where famine was common, William hated seeing his parents miserable. He cares for them as they care for him. When William was nine years old, his Uncle John died of disease. "It was the first time I'd ever seen my parents suffer, and the sight of it frightened me more that and magic ever could" (50). This was William's realization that his parents weren't invincible, and that they were all together in this place of famine and poverty. As he grew older, William looked for ways to improve they way in which he and his family lived. He began reading in persecution of knowledge. One thing that intrigued him was energy and electricity, a somewhat abstract concept to his village. He read about all the ways in which electricity had changed the western world, and figured that if he could harness that power, it could change the way his family lives. So he studied diagrams of circuits and discovered the windmill. After a few months he had built his own. "With that little success, I started planning for an even bigger windmill" (174). William never let go of his dreams, and today his village and family live in much better conditions.

If it hadn't been for his love and compassion for those nearest to him, William wouldn't have had the desire to change the village as he did. He didn't do this for himself, but rather for his parents and siblings, whose suffering brought him much more fear than anything else. It was his heart that led him to success, and where many other people like him just blamed magic and superstition for the famine and poverty, William dug deeper. Through his compassion, he discovered determination and was able to change the world.

Olivia Licciardi said...

i agree with Sydney's post, perseverance is a major motif in the boy who harnessed the wind. but one thing i really liked was the quotes that you chose for perseverence, they really caught the image of perseverance really well. i loved your post!

Natalia said...

Magic was a major concept integrated into William’s story, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. The magic that Africans where William grew up typically think of is the kind of magic that witch doctors practice. William finds he is led to a different magic. William finds that inner strength was a type of internal magic that he needed to make the windmill. Education was a type of external magic that William also needed to build the windmill and understand how electricity works so that he could transform his life and that of the village. “No more skipping breakfast; no more dropping out of school. With a windmill we’d finally release ourselves from the troubles of darkness and hunger” (169).

Learning gave William strength and energy that kept him moving onward. “It was like delicious food and I seemed to want to share my knowledge with everyone I encountered” (166). William’s inner strength to keep going after dropping out of school had led him to this book and he kept wanting to read more and understand more. He wanted to fix his village. Through the external power of education he found how to build a windmill. “From studying the picture in the book, I knew that in terms of materials, I’d need blades, a shaft and a rotor, plus some wires and something like a dynamo to generate electricity from the movement of the blades.” (169). He knew he had the strength and he had the information he needed now to build the windmill. This was an opportunity. It was magic within itself.

Lizzie Weindling said...

In the book, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, there are many motifs highlighted. One in particular that stands out is perseverance. William Kamkwamba sought to do something with his life; he did not want to be a poor farmer like his father, and many around him, nor a trader. Although, that is exactly what helped him decide he wanted to do something around science. He saw all the different things work around the trading center and questioned how. How the lights are able to turn on with just a simple switch, or how a radio is able to play all different stations and music while being mobile; "If solving such mysteries was the job of a scientist, then a scientist is exactly what I wanted to be" (71). His curiosity drove him at a young age to discover how a radio worked. William would “stare at the exposed circuit boards and wonder what all those wires did, why they were different colors, and where they all went” (68), and with “nothing more than trial and error” (68) William was able to discover how the radios work and even start a small business with a friend to repair radios.
William’s perseverance through teaching himself to read, and building a windmill helped William be able to achieve his goal of becoming a scientist, as well as doing something to help his family and village. He had to work through a drought, battle starvation, help his family survive, and continuing to tend to their plantations. Although William's family had it lucky that their food supply did not run out as quickly as the other families’ did, he still suffered through the pain of starvation. “We were all losing weight. The bones began to show in my chest, and the rope I’d used as a belt no longer sufficed…My mouth was always dry. My arms became thin like blue gum poles and ached all the time” (150-151). He give himself hope by thinking in just another month the rain would come, or that the government has to by now realize what is going on and help his village get food. The determination William has through his entire life helped him get through starvation, lack of education for his age, and the doubt that his whole village had during the construction of his windmill. William’s great mind of curiosity helped him continue his education on his own, when his parents had no money to send him to school. He even had to endure people calling him madman to his face while he would gather materials to build his windmill. Often the villagers would call out, “There goes the madman off to smoke his chumba,” (188). Nowadays, William would not be called a “madman” at his village; through his perseverance, William brought his village electricity and water through his own windmill.

Natalia said...

Brett- I agree that determination is a major theme. You brought up some good points that William’s compassion and wanting to help his family came from somewhere. It came from his suffering. He knew what it was like at a young age of nine not to have an uncle. In America we take things for granted like having light, not worrying about death, but in Africa they went through a famine and the children in Africa saw their neighbors’ struggles and their own families’ devastation. William developed a huge heart and also a greater understanding through seeing his own family’s struggles as well as his neighbors and friends. William also wanted to make things better. You captured all this in your essay. It was a very good approach and helped me see through William’s eyes.

Lizzie Weindling said...

I liked how Catherine began by describing what William went through during the famine. While reading the book I thought that was one of the most interesting parts and it really made me want to read on and find out what happens, and I think by discussing that first, it would draw in the reader. I also liked her third sentence because it made me think of how different William's life is from any of ours, when we are guaranteed a full meal and going hungry never is an issue for us. She also had a very strong conclusion, which reminded us of her beginning thesis.

celliott28 said...

Natalia,
I believe that the stories he has been told about magic has lead him towards the curiosity of science. However magic is also part of his culture and it helps us understand a little more

celliott28 said...

Education is a huge aspect in the book, "The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind"and one of the main themes. William Kawkwamba impressed the whole world with his creation of the windmill simply by looking at a picture and having the curiosity and determination to create one. When he had to drop out of school because of the famine he, "Woke up at the same time, stood at the junction, and waited for Gilburt. I even worse my black trousers and white shirt" (133). In placement of school, William spent time in the library learning,"I left that afternoon with books on geography, social studies, and basic spelling- The same textbooks my friends were studying in school" (161). With his love for education and his determination to get back into school, after he built the windmill with the money he made he sent Gilburt and his sisters back to school, also "even sent the neighbors' kids back to school" (275). His determination to learn and educate himself lead to him trying to educate the people around him to make a better Africa.

CharlotteCadow said...

Have you ever had to go for weeks only eating one or two handfuls of food a day? Probably not. One can simply drive down to the grocery store and get a meal. However, many Africans face starvation on a daily basis. When the harvest fails, and the government has no back up supply, there is no supermarket a mile down the road. Somehow, they manage to persevere. As Kamkwamba says, “‘Africans bend what little they have to their will every day. Using creativity, they overcome Africa’s challenges’” (4346). When his family runs out of food, William goes into the woods and hunts. His mother sets up a business with a profit margin just large enough to buy another days meal. His family never gives up trying, and so they manage to survive.
William goes to school as a young boy, but as he ages and school becomes expensive, his family can no longer afford it. William is devastated because he loves learning and is very interested in science. Trying to comfort William, his father gives him some advice, “‘If you can’t fly, run; if you can’t run, if you can’t walk, crawl’” (4628). In Africa, it is impossible to stroll through life. You have to jump hurdles, take detours, and solve other such problems. That type of situation is unimaginable to most, and probably impossible, yet in Malawi they make it through because of their determination.

CharlotteCadow said...

Carolyn,

I like how you were able to connect education and determination. I also liked how you included quotes from all different parts of the book so it really tied the book together and strengthened your point!

Catherine C. said...

Response to John's comment on magic:
John, I totally agree with you on people accepting magic into their lives as a way to justify or to explain. The funny thing is, as magic is no longer an accepted practice or information source in America, we find ourselves using science in the exact same way as the Malawian people use magic. We use science to explain and debate controversial topics such as evolution, global warming and the origin of species, topics that are also tied up in religious notions and opinions. There was a similar dichotomy in TBWHTW: William's father, a religious man, expected his children to accept and live by the teachings of Christianity, but also to respect the rules of magic. Today, you often see people either on one side or the other, both it shows that there are some of us who take solace in the answers science and/or our specific faiths provide for us. Great entry, very well written and demonstrates your attentive reading.

Catherine C. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alexis Williams said...

Magic played an important role in William’s life growing up. His family loved to tell stories. William’s father especially was a brilliant storyteller. He filled the village children’s minds with stories of witch doctors, witches and wizards, of men with super human-like powers, and animals who could talk. William believed in the stories and thought such things existed in real life. “Before I discovered the miracles of science, magic ruled the world” (3). The people in his village tended to use magic as a scapegoat. They blamed their bad crops, sickness, and terrible weather on magic. William too feared the mighty powers of magic, yet he was still intrigued to discover what it was. The first real encounter William had with magic was when he came across a boy named Shabani, who used what was called mangolomera, a type of potion that supposedly made him strong. William decided he would try some. Shabani took William into the woods. He cut his knuckles and rubbed the remedy into his veins. “I walked out of the forest, looking down at my wounded, blackened hands, which by now had begun to swell. They looked tough. I imagined my arms swinging heavy at my sides like two thick hoe handles”(46). Days latter, William decided to test out his powers and get into a fight. He successfully found an opponent, but he wasn’t very successful at winning. This was the point William’s life that he discovered magic wasn’t something one could rely on. “As you can see, I was clearly cheated. My first and only experience with magic had left me with a sore eye and hands that throbbed from bad medicine” (48). Afterwards William never returned to the mysterious ways of magic, instead, he focused on the concrete facts of science.
William changed the lives of his family, friends and everyone in his village by using science. Gradually, throughout his life, William steered away from the world of magic and entered the universe of science. Magic and science fall on many different levels. Magic is still believed and used in many parts of the world especially in villages in Africa. It is apart of their culture and history. Science on the other hand, brought William’s village out of poverty. By introducing electricity, people were able to overcome many of nature’s obstacles. The question is: Are we taking away people’s culture and belief in magic by bringing electricity and advanced technology into their lives? This is a question and motif William may be addressing in his book. Is it possible for both to coexist? Some sorts of magic, like remedies and medicines (not mangolomera) use ingredients that contain healing properties. Science also has many coincidences and odd properties that make it seem like it could be magic. Both are different in their explanations of the world, yet they are the same in their ways of bringing people together.

Alexis Williams said...

In response to Brett's comment:

I completely agree. William's motivation was his family. He could't stand to see them suffer which gave him the determination he needed to do everything in his power to help them. I liked how you connected William's determination back to his family. They truly were the people he was fighting for, even if they didn't necessarily believe in him at first.

DavidD. said...

In response to Lizzie's comment:

The only problem I found in the comment is that I had trouble finding the differince in the motifs for the two paragraphs. Other than that, I comepletely argree with you about perserverence being a major motif in the book. You brought up many points in the story that I never really thought of.

R Davis said...

A motif in the book The Boy who Harnessed the Wind, by William Kamkwamba, is Percerverance. William faced many hardships in his attempt to create his windmill. Not only was it difficult to find parts but his family and almost all the community around him saw him as a madman. Through thick and thin, William persevered, so that he could follow his dreams.

When William first entered the small library of Wimbe Primary School, he discovered that the books on display in the library covered many topics that he had not learned or even heard of in primary school or from friends. Many of the books in the library were in English and William talks about the difficulty of the books. “Over the next few weeks, I struggled with the text but managed to figure out every few words and was able to grasp the context” (163). Even though he had poor English his desire to learn allowed him to over come this minor set back. William stood his ground and kept reading those books until he could understand the majority of what they touched on. Later, William became enthralled in the idea of making a windmill and persevered from all sorts of criticism.

Every one in William’s village criticized him. They called him crazy and teased him. Even his own mother criticized him for acting crazy, saying, “What’s wrong with you... I mean, look at this room! It looks like a madman’s room”(189). She goes to his father for help, but his father tells her to leave him alone and let him work it out himself. William continued to stick to his dreams and he built a windmill. Once he had finished his windmill he did not stop there. Although the book only includes the first windmill he made, William has made several windmills.

What is most amazing is that, after William finished his windmill, William continued to work on electronics. While most people would have built a windmill, light a light bulb, maybe pump some water, and called it a day. William’s natural curiosity and perseverance drew him towards new things and allowed him to work his hardest to see them to completion. Perseverance is a motif of William’s book and a defining part of his character.

Kelly said...

In this book, one large motif is William's looking up to his father. He states, “to me, [my father] was the biggest and strongest man in the world” (Kamkwamba, 5). He initially sees his father as a hero, a strong man without any faults. However, when William's family can no longer afford to send him to school, he sees that is father cannot fix everything. He works very hard in the hopes of sending William back to school, but William has already lost some naivete, despite the fact that he still looks up to his father. He states, “I loved my father and respected him deeply, but I did not want to end up like him” (134).
William also describes the height of the crops by relating them to his father's height. He states, “...the stalk is thick and strong and as high as my father's chest” (Kamkwamba, 76). This hints at a deeper emulation for his father. William Kamkwamba's story is layered heavily with a deep love and respect for his father.

EmilyA said...

One major motif in The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kankwamba is overcoming adversity. William overcame several adversities including famine, no formal education, his sister leaving, and doubt from other people. These challenges never stopped William from believing he could accomplish his dream of creating a windmill. William’s motives were to make life better for his family and the people who live in Malawi. William worked harder than anyone I know in order to help people around him. After William was finished making his windmill he was so delighted. I think that was one of the best scenes in the whole book. He said, “I through my hands in the air and screamed with joy” (203).
While William was building the windmill he overcame the adversity of the famine in Malawi. During this time, William was forced to drop out of school and help his family on their farm. They would only have one meal per day and everyone started to become weaker and weaker. Even though this meant less time for working on his project, William never gave up. “Each time I swolloed was like returning something that was lost, some missing part of my being” (157). William describes the taste of the first dowe after the famine and how great it is to be able to have food again. While building the windmill, William had to travel to the scrap yard in order to obtain pieces of metal to use. On the way to the scrap yard he had to pass the school. The children in school didn’t believe in him and thought he was crazy. One day while he was passing the school the students said, “Hey look, it’s William, digging in the garbage again!”(188). William had to deal with the adversities of the famine and doubt from other people but he still had the courage to continue with his dream.
In response to Brett. You brought up very good points in your entry. I agree that William had a great amount of compassion and that it had to come from somewhere. I think William’s struggles made him a stronger person and enabled him to fight through almost anything.