I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem

I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem

by

Maryse Condé

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I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem: Part 1: Chapter 11 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
John tells Tituba that she does not know how to survive in the white man’s world. Tituba wears her heart on her sleeve, but John “wears a mask,” playing directly to white people’s stereotypes of Black men. “Behind all that,” though, he explains, “I, John Indian, am free.” Tituba expresses her regret for having tried to cure and explain things to Betsey.
Again, Tituba’s determination to maintain integrity and a sense of self—passed down to her by her ancestors and Mama Yaya—contrasts with John Indian’s desire to “survive” at any cost. In particular, it is worth noting his idea that by play-acting a stereotypical vision of Blackness, he maintains personal privacy and “freedom.”
Themes
Surviving vs. Enduring Theme Icon
Slavery and Daily Life  Theme Icon
Quotes
Parris tells Tituba that he has brought in a witchcraft specialist named Dr. Griggs to assess the situation—and that if Tituba is found guilty of magic, she will be hanged. But before Griggs can arrive, Betsey and Abigail have another fit, once again drawing the attention of all of the neighbors. When Tituba insists that everything she did for Betsey was for her own good, Parris gets even more suspicious.
Whereas Tituba’s knowledge is treated as satanic and untrustworthy, a white man like Dr. Griggs—who presumably has similar forms of knowledge—is only lauded for his expertise, underlining the community’s racist, patriarchal assumptions.
Themes
Slavery and Daily Life  Theme Icon
Nature as Knowledge Theme Icon
Tituba goes to Betsey’s room with the naïve hope that she will be able to connect with the little girl again. Instead, Betsey asks Tituba questions about Satan. When Tituba repeats that she was only trying to do good, Betsey says, “you, do good? You’re a Negress, Tituba! You can only do evil. You are evil itself.”
In this crushing exchange, Betsey—the youngest, most seemingly innocent white person in the book—reveals that she has already learned vitriolic anti-Blackness. Thus all the tangible good that Tituba has done for Betsey and her mother is written off because of her race.
Themes
Slavery and Daily Life  Theme Icon
Tituba is deeply wounded by these words, especially coming from someone she is so attached to. As she tries to recover, she runs into Goodwife Sibley, who at first offers support. Like Goodwife Nurse, however, Goodwife Sibley then encourages Tituba to use evil magic against her enemies. When Tituba gets frustrated, Goodwife Sibley reminds her of the horrible things that happen to witches. John begs Goodwife Sibley to help them.
Sibley inadvertently points out a strange contradiction here: if Tituba really were as evil as she was accused of being, wouldn’t she be able to just do away with her accusers? But while John Indian wants to follow Sibley’s advice, Tituba refuses to try to enact pain even on those who would have her executed.
Themes
Surviving vs. Enduring Theme Icon
Nature as Knowledge Theme Icon
Get the entire I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem LitChart as a printable PDF.
I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem PDF
That evening, all of the teenage girls come into Tituba’s home; she notices that their fervor has made them almost attractive, even though many of them are quite ugly. Tituba dreams of Susanna Endicott, and she wonders if this was her revenge. But slowly, the nightmare fades into a better dream, and Tituba gets to revisit (in her mind) her cabin in Barbados.
The fact that the witchcraft crisis literally makes the Puritan teenagers appear more attractive suggests, once again, that this panic, in part, offers a way for these young girls to express the sexual drives they have thus far repressed. 
Themes
Desire, Patriarchy and the Difficulty of Feminism Theme Icon