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 7 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Most of the accusers were rich, but many of the accused were poor—and yet, the colonial government still refuses to pay for their prison costs. Instead, Tituba is forced to work off the cost of her own imprisonment in the jail’s kitchens. Though the food is sparse and often rotting, Tituba remembers some old recipes, and she quickly gains a reputation as an excellent cook. 
Again, Tituba takes in the absurdity of her situation: the state is forcing her to pay for being imprisoned by the state, for a crime she did not commit, in a country she did not want to come to. But as always, Tituba finds comfort in plant life, learning how to cook with the New England vegetation.
Themes
Slavery and Daily Life  Theme Icon
Nature as Knowledge Theme Icon
To get a moment of respite, Tituba begins walking to the sea, as she feels 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 and Anne.
Earlier, Tituba has explained that the sea reminds her of home. But though she finds comfort in these memories, she no longer finds comfort in the only other person actually from her native island, as John Indian has now fully embraced his role as an accuser.
Themes
Desire, Patriarchy and the Difficulty of Feminism Theme Icon
In May 1693, the governor declares a general pardon, and all of the accused witches left alive are set free. But prison superintendent Noyes informs Tituba that in order to pay off her prison debts, she will have to sell herself into slavery and use the money to pay the prisons. “If one day I am born again,” she vows, “let it be in the steely army of conquerors!”
This new development—like the fact that Susanna sold Tituba to Samuel Parris despite never having purchased her—highlights the complete illogic of slavery. Merely by virtue of how she was “born,” then, Tituba must live in constant fear of enslavement and all the brutality that comes with it.
Themes
Slavery and Daily Life  Theme Icon
After being inspected by a series of slaveholders—who comment on her body, age, and skin-tone—Tituba encounters a small, hunched older man who walks with a limp. There is something generous in the man’s eyes, so Tituba asks about him and learns that he is a wealthy Jewish merchant who does business in the West Indies. Seeing her chance to return to Barbados, Tituba calls on Mama Yaya and Abena to help her wind up in the hands of this merchant.
Just as she did in Susanna’s kitchen, Tituba feels how slavery is designed (at every juncture) to dehumanize Black people. And though this Jewish merchant is a kindly figure, it is important to note that he is still, at base, a slaveholder, looking to purchase human beings at an auction; kindness, in this context, is only relative. 
Themes
Slavery and Daily Life  Theme Icon
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I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem PDF
That night, amidst dreams of Barbados, Tituba connects with Hester’s spirit and feels the stirrings of sexual longing. Tituba wonders if it is possible for her to access “another kind of bodily pleasure” with a woman.
Tituba’s desire has always been laser-focused on men (primarily John Indian), and that desire has sometimes complicated her burgeoning feminism. But in considering a queer form of desire, Tituba may also be expanding her political imagination.
Themes
Desire, Patriarchy and the Difficulty of Feminism Theme Icon
Quotes
The Jewish merchant purchases Tituba, and Noyes smashes her chains. After months of imprisonment, Tituba no longer knows how to interact with other people or how to take care of herself. As she readjusts to the world around her, she reflects that “few people have the misfortune to be born twice.”
Each time that Tituba has been “born” (first literally and now metaphorically in her re-entry process), she has been born into slavery—and so has received life as “misfortune.” Moreover, Condé might be commenting on the difficulty of re-entry after time in prison, a problem that is especially salient in modern times.
Themes
Surviving vs. Enduring Theme Icon
Slavery and Daily Life  Theme Icon