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 2: Chapter 10 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Eventually, the villagers turn against Benjamin and Tituba, ripping the family’s mezuzahs off the door and throwing stones at anyone who leaves the house. One night, the townspeople set fire to the d’Azevedo home—and though Benjamin and Tituba are able to escape, all nine children are killed in the flames.
Here, anti-Semitism and anti-Blackness act in concert to fuel the villagers’ violence. The deaths of the nine children demonstrate again that it is usually the most vulnerable people in any group who suffer the most.
Themes
Slavery and Daily Life  Theme Icon
Benjamin believes that God is punishing him, not for having had sex outside of marriage but for refusing Tituba her freedom. He buys Tituba a ticket on a boat back to Barbados, and asks only that before she leaves, she connect him with the spirits of his children. Tituba does so, and the children assure their father that they are reuniting with their mother Abigail d’Azevedo in the afterlife.
At last, Benjamin realizes the profound injustice of his ways—though Tituba’s departure is complicated by the desire and even love she has developed for this man. Ultimately, however, both Benjamin and Tituba are able to give the other the thing they most want, modeling a different (and more tender) kind of love than the one Tituba shared with John.
Themes
Slavery and Daily Life  Theme Icon
Desire, Patriarchy and the Difficulty of Feminism Theme Icon
Though Tituba has been formally emancipated, once on board the ship, she still faces racism and suspicion—especially once the captain learns that she was an accused witch of Salem. Even as her magic is feared, however, the crew also insists that Tituba should use magic to heal sickness and “ward off storms.” Tituba thinks of her own pain and of Benjamin’s, and she craves revenge.
The treatment Tituba receives on the ship is similar to her experience in Salem: the white crewmates project onto her their fears and their desires, in part because of the rumors surrounding her and in part merely because of the color of her skin.
Themes
Slavery and Daily Life  Theme Icon
Nature as Knowledge Theme Icon
While Tituba wonders what awaits 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 sails through the Atlantic, Deodatus tells Tituba simple stories about how the world was made, bringing her back to her childhood.
The bond Deodatus forms with Tituba allows for solace despite the anti-Blackness of the ship. And crucially, Deodatus models another kind of historical preservation: rather than keeping Abena alive in the archives, Deodatus keeps her alive in his mind.
Themes
Slavery and Daily Life  Theme Icon
Archival History vs. Memory Theme Icon
Quotes
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Deodatus pushes Tituba to think about what she will do as a free woman while most of her people are still enslaved; he also shares his own life story with her, in which he was sold into slavery by an African king for some brandy, gunpowder, and a silken parasol. Tituba reflects on the horrible things people do out of greed.
Now that Tituba is returning home to a changed Barbados, her knowledge and way of life must “once again adapt itself to society.” It is also important to note that even in this moment of distress, Tituba is thinking of her people as a whole, never of only herself.
Themes
Surviving vs. Enduring Theme Icon
Slavery and Daily Life  Theme Icon
Nature as Knowledge Theme Icon
Many sailors, including Deodatus, develop a fever, and Tituba is able to heal almost all of them. But rather than thanking Tituba, the captain only asks more from her. Specifically, one day when the ship stalls because of poor wind conditions, the captain orders Tituba to change the wind. She attempts to do so by sacrificing a few animals, but she neglects to kill a sheep without horns, so the incantation goes awry. Though the ship gets to Barbados, the end of the journey is chaotic, and Tituba does not get to say goodbye to Deodatus. 
Though Tituba is skilled with many kinds of plants and animals (and in many different environments), this passage acts a reminder that she is by no means omnipotent—a strong wind or a wrong ingredient can still throw her off. Tituba is more aware of her limits, however, than the white people around her, as this scene makes clear.
Themes
Nature as Knowledge Theme Icon