The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope

by William Kamkwamba
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Why did William not cry when his uncle died in chapter 3 of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind?  

William doesn't cry when his uncle dies in chapter 3 because he doesn't feel like doing so. He can't explain it, but while everyone else is extremely upset over the death of his Uncle John, William doesn't know how to conduct himself.

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One day, while tending to the tobacco crop with his brother, William's Uncle John suddenly keels over in the field. Although John had been ill for quite some time, he'd stubbornly refused to see a doctor.

On the day that John collapsed, William's father had managed to get him to a clinic, where he was diagnosed with tuberculosis. But before he could be taken to Kasungu Hospital, he passed away on a bed mat that his brother had placed beneath the shade of an acacia tree.

As one can imagine, John's death, though not all that surprising, nonetheless comes as a nasty shock to his friends and family. Before long, everyone is very upset, and the air is filled with the sad sound of crying and wailing. According to William, this is the customary way for people in his culture to express grief. And yet William doesn't feel like doing this, and he can't explain why.

This makes William feel ashamed, so much so that he forces himself to cry, focusing hard on his dead uncle until, eventually, the tears begin to flow down his face. Before his tears have dried up, he joins his cousin to pay his respects to his late uncle.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on February 19, 2021
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