I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem

I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem

by

Maryse Condé

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John Indian Character Analysis

John Indian is Tituba’s first lover, and despite his many flaws, he is also the love of her life. The two meet when John Indian, born to an indigenous father and a Nago mother, is enslaved on Susanna Endicott’s plantation in Barbados; shortly after, the two marry, and John forces Tituba to come live with him on Endicott land. Though John is initially a good partner to Tituba, he is known for his womanizing, and (much to his wife’s chagrin) he is consistently unfaithful. Unlike Tituba, John Indian has few qualms about cruel and dishonest behavior—instead, he believes simply that “the duty of a slave is to survive!” To do this, John Indian often plays into white people’s stereotypes of Blackness, claiming that doing so allows him to “wear a mask” and be “free” underneath. John Indian’s determination to “survive” at all costs—in contrast to Tituba’s emphasis on goodness and generosity—is even more on display during the Salem witch trials; whereas Tituba is reluctant to testify against anyone, John becomes one of the main accusers (alongside Abigail and little Anne Putnam). John Indian thus illustrates both the need for a kind of proto-feminism and the pitfalls of putting survival above all.

John Indian Quotes in I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem

The I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem quotes below are all either spoken by John Indian or refer to John Indian . 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 2 Quotes

“Mama Yaya,” I said, panting. “I want this man to love me.”

She shook her head. “Men do not love. They possess. They subjugate.”

Related Characters: Tituba (speaker), Mama Yaya (speaker), John Indian
Page Number: 14
Explanation and Analysis:

What is a witch? I noticed that when he said the word, it was marked with disapproval. Why should that be? Why? Isn't the ability to communicate with the invisible world, to keep constant links with the dead, to care for others and heal, a superior gift of nature that inspires respect, admiration, and gratitude? Consequently, shouldn't the witch […] be cherished and revered rather than feared?

Related Characters: Tituba (speaker), John Indian , Mama Yaya, Susanna Endicott
Page Number: 17
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:
Part 1: Chapter 7 Quotes

“There are two Indians working at the Black Horse. If you could see how they are treated. They told me how they were deprived of their land, how the white man destroyed their herds and gave them ‘fire water,’ which sends a man to his grave in next to no time period. Ah, white folks!”

These stories puzzled me and I tried to understand. “Perhaps it's because they have done so much harm to their fellow beings, to some because their skin is black, to others because their skin is red, that they have such a strong feeling of being damned?”

Related Characters: Tituba (speaker), John Indian (speaker)
Page Number: 44
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 1: Chapter 8 Quotes

Lament for my lost child

The moonstone dropped into the water,

Into the waters of the river,

And my fingers couldn’t reach it,

Woe is me!

The moonstone has fallen.

Sitting on a rock on the riverbank,

I wept and I lamented.

Oh, softly shining stone,

Glimmering at the bottom of the water.

The hunter passed that way

With his bow and arrows.

“Why are you crying, my lovely one?”

“I’m crying because my moonstone

Lies at the bottom of the water.”

“If it is but that, my lovely,

I will help you.”

But the hunter died and was drowned.

Related Characters: Tituba (speaker), John Indian , Hester , Mama Yaya
Page Number: 55
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 1: Chapter 10 Quotes

There were two or three black servants in the community, how they got there I have no idea, and all of us were not simply cursed, but visible messengers of Satan. So we were furtively approached to try and assuage unspeakable desires for revenge, to liberate unsuspecting hatred and bitterness, and to do evil by every means. He who passed for the most devoted of husbands dreamed of nothing but killing his wife! She who passed for the most faithful of wives was prepared to sell the soul of her children to get rid of the father!

Related Characters: Tituba (speaker), John Indian (speaker)
Page Number: 65
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 1: Chapter 11 Quotes

“I have been watching you, my poor suffering wife, during all these years we have been together and I can see that you don’t understand this white man’s world in which we live. You make exceptions. You believe that some of them can respect and love us. How mistaken you are! You must hate without distinction!”

“Well, you're a fine one to talk, John Indian! You're like a puppet in their hands. I'll pull this string and you pull that one…”

“I wear a mask, my tormented wife, painted the colors they want […] and behind all that, I, John Indian, am free.”

Related Characters: Tituba (speaker), John Indian (speaker)
Page Number: 74
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 1: Chapter 12 Quotes

You may be surprised that I shiver at the idea of death. But that's the ambiguity of people like us. Our body is mortal and we are therefore prey to every torment of the common mortal. Like them, we fear suffering. Like them, we are frightened of the terrible antechamber that ends our life on earth. However certain we are that the doors will open before us onto another form of life, this time eternal, we are nevertheless wracked with anguish.

In order to bring peace back into my heart and mind I had to repeat Mama Yaya’s words: “Out of them all, you'll be the only one to survive.”

Related Characters: Tituba (speaker), Mama Yaya (speaker), John Indian
Page Number: 86
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 2: Chapter 2 Quotes

“What does Satan look like? Don't forget he has more than one disguise up his sleeve. That's why after all this time nobody's caught him yet. Sometimes he's a black man...”

There I interrupted her in a worried voice. “If I say that, won't they think of John Indian?”

She shrugged her shoulders irritably. Hester got irritated easily. “Don't talk to me about your wretched husband! He's no better than mine. Shouldn't he be here to share your sorrow? Life is too kind to men, whatever their color.”

Related Characters: Tituba (speaker), Hester (speaker), John Indian
Page Number: 100
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem LitChart as a printable PDF.
I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem PDF

John Indian Character Timeline in I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem

The timeline below shows where the character John Indian appears in I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1: Chapter 2
Slavery and Daily Life  Theme Icon
Desire, Patriarchy and the Difficulty of Feminism Theme Icon
Tituba meets and flirts with John Indian , a handsome man born to an indigenous father and a Nago mother. John explains... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 3
Surviving vs. Enduring Theme Icon
Slavery and Daily Life  Theme Icon
Desire, Patriarchy and the Difficulty of Feminism Theme Icon
...Tituba, she gives her a list of tasks and orders her to convert to Christianity. John Indian acts like a child, dancing around and pleading with Susanna for two days off to... (full context)
Surviving vs. Enduring Theme Icon
Slavery and Daily Life  Theme Icon
...in slavery, so she has sold all the other enslaved people on her plantation besides John Indian . Now, he lives in an “attractive” little colonial house on the Endicott plantation. Tituba... (full context)
Slavery and Daily Life  Theme Icon
...spirit, and Abena recalls that while Yao was kind and respectful, she is not sure John Indian will be the same way. Tituba regrets that unlike the rest of the enslaved people... (full context)
Surviving vs. Enduring Theme Icon
Slavery and Daily Life  Theme Icon
Tituba tells John Indian about this exchange, and he panics, explaining that white people define witchcraft as dealing with... (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
...fate. And you will have perverted your heart in the bargain.” Again, both women criticize John Indian , and both hint that Tituba will have to “cross the water.” Tituba decides instead... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 1
Surviving vs. Enduring Theme Icon
Slavery and Daily Life  Theme Icon
Desire, Patriarchy and the Difficulty of Feminism Theme Icon
...it all, Tituba continues to insist that she will “never! Never!” cast suspicion on others. John Indian comes in and begs Tituba to accuse others and save herself. He then asks her... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 2
Surviving vs. Enduring Theme Icon
Slavery and Daily Life  Theme Icon
Desire, Patriarchy and the Difficulty of Feminism Theme Icon
Archival History vs. Memory Theme Icon
...Satan as a “black man” (a common descriptor for the devil), suspicion will fall on John Indian . Hester has little patience for Tituba’s continued love for her husband, especially because both... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 4
Slavery and Daily Life  Theme Icon
Desire, Patriarchy and the Difficulty of Feminism Theme Icon
Archival History vs. Memory Theme Icon
...Goodwife Nurse can be taken down, Tituba fears even more greatly for her husband. Yet John Indian seems to be getting along just fine, causing Tituba to recall Hester’s complaint that “life... (full context)
Slavery and Daily Life  Theme Icon
Archival History vs. Memory Theme Icon
John Indian stops visiting, and Tituba is taken back to the jail in Ipswich. On the journey,... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 7
Desire, Patriarchy and the Difficulty of Feminism Theme Icon
...the water is a saving force. But the sea cannot prevent her from learning that John Indian is now one of the town’s main accusers, often being even more aggressive than Abigail... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 8
Desire, Patriarchy and the Difficulty of Feminism Theme Icon
...end up in bed?” The sight of Benjamin’s body cannot compare to the beauty of John Indian ’s, but Tituba nevertheless finds great pleasure and comfort with him. (full context)
Surviving vs. Enduring Theme Icon
Slavery and Daily Life  Theme Icon
Desire, Patriarchy and the Difficulty of Feminism Theme Icon
When Tituba asks about John Indian , Mary tells her that he has moved to a nearby town to live with... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 9
Surviving vs. Enduring Theme Icon
Slavery and Daily Life  Theme Icon
Tituba recovers from the news of John Indian , and she has four happy months with Benjamin and his children; her new lover... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 12
Surviving vs. Enduring Theme Icon
Slavery and Daily Life  Theme Icon
...horrifying slave auction and passes by Susanna Endicott’s house, which makes her again long for John Indian . (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 13
Archival History vs. Memory Theme Icon
...later, Tituba and Christopher become lovers, though she cannot quite shake her pleasurable memories of John Indian . (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 14
Surviving vs. Enduring Theme Icon
Desire, Patriarchy and the Difficulty of Feminism Theme Icon
That night, Tituba dreams that Christopher, John Indian , and Samuel Parris come into her room like “three birds of prey” and assault... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 15
Desire, Patriarchy and the Difficulty of Feminism Theme Icon
...love? As she falls asleep, she thinks about the members of the Parris family and John Indian , whom she has never gotten over. She wonders if Susanna Endicott is still trying... (full context)