I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem

I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem

by

Maryse Condé

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Yao is an Ashanti man who has been captured, enslaved, and brought to Barbados; now, he too works on Darnell Davis’s plantation. Yao serves as both a mentor and a lover to Abena, and though he is not Tituba’s biological father, he nevertheless treats her as his own daughter. After Abena is hanged, Yao kills himself, as he does not want to live in a world without his beloved wife. Fortunately, though, Mama Yaya shows Tituba how to contact Yao’s spirit even after his death. Throughout I, Tituba, Yao is the model of a gentle and generous masculinity; both Mama Yaya and Abena encourage Tituba not to settle with any man unless he is as tender as Yao.
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Yao Character Timeline in I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem

The timeline below shows where the character Yao 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
...is pregnant, Darnell flies into a rage. He then sends Abena to go live with Yao, another Ashanti enslaved man.  (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 kill himself many... (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,... (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
...man who assaulted her, it is hard for Abena to show her daughter love. Still, Yao is deeply caring, teaching Tituba to love her environment and to use tropical plants to... (full context)
Surviving vs. Enduring Theme Icon
Slavery and Daily Life  Theme Icon
Desire, Patriarchy and the Difficulty of Feminism Theme Icon
...all of the enslaved people on his plantation, including Tituba. Darnell also tries to sell Yao to a neighboring planter, but this time, Yao’s suicide attempt is successful. (full context)
Surviving vs. Enduring Theme Icon
Nature as Knowledge Theme Icon
Archival History vs. Memory Theme Icon
...[…] and 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... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 3
Slavery and Daily Life  Theme Icon
...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 be the same way.... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 12
Surviving vs. Enduring Theme Icon
Slavery and Daily Life  Theme Icon
...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 the same... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 14
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... (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... (full context)
Surviving vs. Enduring Theme Icon
Slavery and Daily Life  Theme Icon
Archival History vs. Memory Theme Icon
...contest the 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... (full context)
Epilogue
Nature as Knowledge Theme Icon
Archival History vs. Memory Theme Icon
...the 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... (full context)