I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem

I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem

by

Maryse Condé

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Abena is Tituba’s mother. As an Ashanti woman enslaved by Darnell Davis, Abena lives in constant fear of violence and sexual assault. When Darnell does indeed try to rape her, she strikes back, which then leads Darnell to have her publicly hanged as punishment. In life, Abena struggles to show affection to her daughter—because she is the product of a white man’s rape—but in death, Abena’s spirit becomes an essential guide and source of solace to Tituba. Along those lines, Abena repeatedly tries (and fails) to steer Tituba away from sex, lamenting that women “can’t do without men.”

Abena Quotes in I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem

The I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem quotes below are all either spoken by Abena or refer to Abena . 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:
Surviving vs. Enduring Theme Icon
).
Part 1: Chapter 1 Quotes

The dead only die if they die in our hearts. They live on if we cherish them and honor their memory, if we place their favorite delicacies in life on their graves, and if we kneel down regularly to commune with them. They are all around us, eager for attention, eager for affection. A few words are enough to conjure them back and to have their invisible bodies pressed against ours in their eagerness to make themselves useful.

Related Characters: Tituba (speaker), Mama Yaya, Abena
Page Number: 10
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 1: Chapter 3 Quotes

John Indian closed the door with a wooden latch and took me in his arms, whispering: “The duty of a slave is to survive! Do you understand? To survive!”

Related Characters: Tituba (speaker), John Indian (speaker), Susanna Endicott , Mama Yaya, Abena
Page Number: 22
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem LitChart as a printable PDF.
I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem PDF

Abena Character Timeline in I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem

The timeline below shows where the character Abena appears in I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1: Chapter 1
Slavery and Daily Life  Theme Icon
Desire, Patriarchy and the Difficulty of Feminism Theme Icon
Tituba tells the story of her birth. Her mother Abena was an Ashanti woman who was captured, enslaved, and brought from West Africa to Barbados... (full context)
Slavery and Daily Life  Theme Icon
Desire, Patriarchy and the Difficulty of Feminism Theme Icon
Once on the island, Abena is sold to a brutal slaveholder named Darnell Davis. Initially, Darnell assigns Abena to be... (full context)
Surviving vs. Enduring Theme Icon
Slavery and Daily Life  Theme Icon
Fortunately, as soon as Abena steps into Yao’s cabin, she realizes that they are old friends. Yao has tried to... (full context)
Surviving vs. Enduring Theme Icon
Slavery and Daily Life  Theme Icon
Desire, Patriarchy and the Difficulty of Feminism Theme Icon
Yao is overjoyed by his new daughter—but Abena is upset that her baby is a girl, because she feels that women are so... (full context)
Surviving vs. Enduring Theme Icon
Slavery and Daily Life  Theme Icon
Nature as Knowledge Theme Icon
Desire, Patriarchy and the Difficulty of Feminism Theme Icon
Tituba also comes to terms with her mother’s lack of affection—because Tituba reminds Abena of the man who assaulted her, it is hard for Abena to show her daughter... (full context)
Surviving vs. Enduring Theme Icon
Slavery and Daily Life  Theme Icon
Desire, Patriarchy and the Difficulty of Feminism Theme Icon
One day, while Tituba is walking with her mother, Darnell stops Abena in her tracks and tries to rape her. Abena instructs her daughter to hand her... (full context)
Nature as Knowledge Theme Icon
Desire, Patriarchy and the Difficulty of Feminism Theme Icon
Archival History vs. Memory Theme Icon
...Mama Yaya assures Tituba that it was not a dream after all; instead, it was Abena’s way of reaching out to her still-living daughter. (full context)
Surviving vs. Enduring Theme Icon
Nature as Knowledge Theme Icon
Archival History vs. Memory Theme Icon
...if we kneel down to regularly commune with them.” From that point on, Yao and Abena become regular fixtures in Tituba’s life. Mama Yaya also shows Tituba how to change form... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 2
Slavery and Daily Life  Theme Icon
Desire, Patriarchy and the Difficulty of Feminism Theme Icon
...time, Tituba considers what her body and face look like, and she cuts her hair. Abena’s spirit arrives, lamenting that women “can’t do without men” and ominously warning Tituba that her... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 3
Slavery and Daily Life  Theme Icon
...Tituba is a witch. Tituba then complains about her situation to her mother’s spirit, and Abena recalls that while Yao was kind and respectful, she is not sure John Indian will... (full context)
Slavery and Daily Life  Theme Icon
Archival History vs. Memory Theme Icon
...a language Tituba knows well. In one of these prayer sessions, Susanna asks Tituba about Abena and Mama Yaya. Susanna believes Mama Yaya is a witch. (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 4
Surviving vs. Enduring Theme Icon
Nature as Knowledge Theme Icon
Desire, Patriarchy and the Difficulty of Feminism Theme Icon
 Though Tituba wants to kill Susanna, both Abena and Mama Yaya counsel her against doing so. “Even if she dies,” Yaya explains, “you... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 9
Desire, Patriarchy and the Difficulty of Feminism Theme Icon
...night is in Salem than in Barbados, Tituba feels the presence of Mama Yaya and Abena. (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 10
Slavery and Daily Life  Theme Icon
Desire, Patriarchy and the Difficulty of Feminism Theme Icon
Archival History vs. Memory Theme Icon
...her kill this cruel slaveholder. But Tituba refuses, citing the words of Mama Yaya and Abena: “don’t become like them, knowing only how to do evil.” (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 12
Surviving vs. Enduring Theme Icon
...wrapping itself in the cloak of god’s name.” Desperate to connect with Mama Yaya and Abena, and fed up with her neighbors, Tituba steals a sheep to sacrifice. At last, Mama... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 7
Slavery and Daily Life  Theme Icon
...West Indies. Seeing her chance to return to Barbados, Tituba calls on Mama Yaya and Abena to help her wind up in the hands of this merchant. (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 10
Slavery and Daily Life  Theme Icon
Archival History vs. Memory Theme Icon
...her in Barbados, she bonds with an enslaved Black sailor named Deodatus. Deodatus knew of Abena, and Tituba is amazed by “this ability our people have of remembering.” As the ship... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 12
Surviving vs. Enduring Theme Icon
Slavery and Daily Life  Theme Icon
...in Bridgetown, Barbados, she is gratified to be greeted by the spirits of Mama Yaya, Abena, and Yao. But the city itself is rainy and crowded, and Tituba no longer feels... (full context)
Surviving vs. Enduring Theme Icon
Nature as Knowledge Theme Icon
Archival History vs. Memory Theme Icon
...“death is a door that nobody can lock,” and she fights her desire for him; Abena’s spirit also weighs in, opining that Tituba wants Christopher’s cause more than his body. Reflecting... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 13
Desire, Patriarchy and the Difficulty of Feminism Theme Icon
...does not deserve to be treated as “special.” After some urging from Mama Yaya and Abena, who criticize her continued reliance on men, Tituba decides to leave the maroons. The other... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 14
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Archival History vs. Memory Theme Icon
Tituba learns that Iphigene’s father is the famed Ti-Noel; his mother was enslaved, and like Abena, she was raped and killed by white slaveholders. This shared trauma—and Iphigene’s youthful beauty—prompts Tituba... (full context)
Surviving vs. Enduring Theme Icon
Slavery and Daily Life  Theme Icon
Nevertheless, Tituba gets in touch with Yao, Abena, and Mama Yaya to ask if the slave revolt is coming at a good time.... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 15
Slavery and Daily Life  Theme Icon
Desire, Patriarchy and the Difficulty of Feminism Theme Icon
The spirits of Mama Yaya, Yao, and Abena return to comfort Tituba (and to chastise her, once again, for always focusing on men).... (full context)
Surviving vs. Enduring Theme Icon
Slavery and Daily Life  Theme Icon
Archival History vs. Memory Theme Icon
...accusations, however, Tituba instead focuses on the afterlife, where she knows Mama Yaya, Yao, and Abena will be waiting for her and where “the light of truth burns bright and unrelenting.” (full context)
Epilogue
Nature as Knowledge Theme Icon
Archival History vs. Memory Theme Icon
...afterlife, she is never alone; she is joined by the spirits of Mama Yaya, Yao, Abena, and Iphigene. But more than that, Tituba has at last “become one” with Barbados itself,... (full context)