Though Tituba wants to kill Susanna, both Abena and Mama Yaya counsel her against doing so. “Even if she dies,” Yaya explains, “you cannot change your 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 to afflict Susanna with a mysterious illness.
Mama Yaya’s questions force Tituba to think about her own integrity—what is the point of self-preservation above all if Tituba loses the goodness that is so central to her idea of herself? Also worth noting: though Mama Yaya has lots of power to heal, neither she nor Tituba can change the future.
John and Tituba make up, and a few days later, Susanna gets very sick. A witchcraft expert is summoned, but he can find no evidence of a spell being put on Susanna. While Susanna is bedridden, John hosts friends from all over the island on the plantation. Tituba is worried these parties will get them in trouble, but John explains that he is just living up to the expectation of what a slave should do when a slaveholder is absent.
While Tituba copes with the trauma Susanna inflicts in one way, John does so in another. Just as he did when he danced around and asked Susanna for more time off, he again uses slaveholders’ stereotypical expectations of Black folks to maximize his own rest time. Tituba’s more spiritual worldview is thus clearly at odds with John’s practical, strategic one.
At one point, some of the partygoers conduct a marriage ceremony between John and Tituba. One woman objects, claiming that John has fathered two children with her. But the crowd instead insists that “where we come from everyone is entitled to his share of women, as many as his arms can hold.” John begins to kiss both Tituba and the other woman, causing Tituba to feel intense anger.
Even in a space completely free of white people and their ideas about gender divides, men’s needs (and particularly men’s sexual desires) are given much more weight than women’s—suggesting that patriarchal views can be found just about anywhere.
Two days later, Susanna tells John and Tituba that she believes Tituba is a witch—and that she feels Tituba is responsible for this strange illness. Soon after, Tituba sees a tall man dressed in black; she is frightened by his eyes, “scheming and wily, creating evil because they saw it everywhere.” Tituba believes that this man is Satan, but John assures her this is not the case. Tituba begins to be overcome with fear for her future.
Both Susanna and this man dressed in black are so consumed with paranoia that they actually “create” the evil they imagine. For example, Susanna was so cruel to Tituba (and so insistent that Tituba was a witch) that Tituba actually did, for the first time in her life, use her powers to inflict harm.
Susanna announces that she is dying, and that she is planning to sell John and Tituba to a new master. Both are horrified by this thought: John because he had thought that Susanna would free him on her death, and Tituba because she never viewed herself as Susanna’s slave.
Susanna has no descendants, so the fact that she sells John and Tituba is pure vindictiveness—and perhaps reflective of her white supremacist desire to keep all Black folks in slavery, even when it has no personal profit.
Still, Susanna is firm that John and Tituba will belong to this new slaveholder, Samuel Parris—and worse still, that they will follow him to America. And even if Tituba could avoid this fate, she is unable to bear the thought of separating from John Indian. In the kitchen, Tituba meets Parris, and realizes with fear that he is the man she had mistaken for Satan.
Now, Tituba finally understands that “cross[ing] the water” means going to America. It is also worth catching that whereas Susanna and her ilk believe Tituba is linked to the devil, the figure who most matches Satanic imagery is Parris (a minister, so ostensibly a man of God).