I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem

I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem

by

Maryse Condé

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem can help.

Tropical Plants Symbol Analysis

Tropical Plants Symbol Icon

Tropical plants symbolize appreciation of the natural world as a form of knowledge. In contrast to white slaveholders like Susanna Endicott, who stays indoors and eats only imported foods, Tituba embraces the vegetation in Barbados as a source of solace and power. And just as the tropical plants themselves are fundamentally nourishing—from the bright red flamboyant trees to the lush “patches of yam and furrows of cassava”—the medicines that Tituba (and Mama Yaya before her) are able to create from them are similarly healing. In addition to demonstrating Tituba’s knowledge and medicinal skill, therefore, the recurring motif of tropical plants also illustrates one of the novel’s central maxims: that “nature changes her language according to the land,” and so flourishing, Caribbean vegetation leads to a particularly joyful natural “language.”

Tropical Plants Quotes in I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem

The I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem quotes below all refer to the symbol of Tropical Plants. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Surviving vs. Enduring Theme Icon
).
Part 1: Chapter 1 Quotes

Mama Yaya taught me about herbs. Those for inducing sleep. Those for healing wounds and ulcers. Those for loosening the tongues of thieves. Those that calm epileptics and plunge them into blissful rest. Those that put words of hope on the lips of the angry, the desperate, and the suicidal.

Mama Yaya taught me to listen to the wind rising and to measure its force as it swirled above the cabins it had the power to crash.

Mama Yaya had taught me the sea, the mountains, and the hills. She taught me that everything lives, has a soul, and breathes. That everything must be respected. That man is not the master riding through his Kingdom on horseback.

Related Characters: Tituba (speaker), Mama Yaya
Related Symbols: Tropical Plants
Page Number: 9
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 2: Chapter 12 Quotes

At one moment the rain fell in soft whispers, drenching plants, trees, and roots, unlike the hostile, icy rains I recalled in the land I had left behind. Yes, nature changes her language according to the land, and curiously, her language harmonizes with that of man. Savage nature, savage men! Protecting, well-meaning nature, open hearted and generous men!

My first night on my island!

The croaking of the frogs and agua toads, the trill of the night birds, the cackling of the chickens frightened by the mongooses, and the braying of the donkeys tied to the calabash trees, the spirits’ resting place, kept up a continual music. I never wanted the morning to come.

Related Characters: Tituba (speaker)
Related Symbols: Tropical Plants
Page Number: 147
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 2: Chapter 13 Quotes

The reader may be surprised that at a time when the lash was constantly being used, I managed to enjoy this peace in freedom. Our islands have two sides to them. The side of the masters’ carriages and their constables on horseback, armed with muskets and savage, baying hounds. And the other, mysterious and secret side, composed of passwords, whispers, and a conspiracy of silence. It was on this side that I lived, protected by common collusion. Mama Yaya made a thick vegetation grow up around my cabin and it was as if I lived in a fortified castle. An inexperienced eye could only make out a tangle of guava trees, ferns, frangipani, and acoma trees, specked here and there by the mauve flower of a hibiscus.

Related Characters: Tituba (speaker), Mama Yaya
Related Symbols: Tropical Plants
Page Number: 156
Explanation and Analysis:
Epilogue Quotes

Sometimes I become a fighting cock in the pit and the clamor of the crowd sends my head spinning […] Oh how I love to give this slave the excitement of winning! Off he goes, dancing and brandishing his fists, a gesture that will soon symbolize other victories. […] Sometimes I become a goat and caper around Samantha, who is no fool. For this child of mine has learned to recognize my presence in the twitching of an animal's coat, the crackling of a fire between four stones, the rainbow-hued babbling of the river, and the sound of the wind as it whistles through the great trees on the hills.

Related Characters: Tituba (speaker), Samantha
Related Symbols: Tropical Plants
Page Number: 175
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem LitChart as a printable PDF.
I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem PDF

Tropical Plants Symbol Timeline in I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem

The timeline below shows where the symbol Tropical Plants 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
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
...love. Still, Yao is deeply caring, teaching Tituba to love her environment and to use tropical plants to feed and heal herself. As Tituba matures, she sees moments of joy and rebellion... (full context)
Nature as Knowledge Theme Icon
Desire, Patriarchy and the Difficulty of Feminism Theme Icon
Archival History vs. Memory Theme Icon
Mama Yaya teaches Tituba to use herbs and tropical plants to heal and change others’ behavior; she also teaches her how to sacrifice animals for... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 3
Nature as Knowledge Theme Icon
...two days, John and Tituba have passionate, satisfying sex; John also cooks delicious meals with tropical plants for Tituba. As soon as the two days are up, however, Susanna (who eats only... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 6
Nature as Knowledge Theme Icon
Desire, Patriarchy and the Difficulty of Feminism Theme Icon
...she is in a very different climate, she has to substitute New England greenery for tropical plants . Still, with her skills and prayers, Tituba is able to heal Elizabeth, and Elizabeth... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 12
Slavery and Daily Life  Theme Icon
Nature as Knowledge Theme Icon
...in Belleplaine, on the other side of the island. Tituba is encouraged by the beautiful tropical plants and bird songs she encounters on the journey. (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 13
Surviving vs. Enduring Theme Icon
Nature as Knowledge Theme Icon
...sacrifice upon her return. Tituba then gets to work, planting a garden for all the tropical plants she needs to heal people across the island. While there is incredible violence against enslaved... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 14
Surviving vs. Enduring Theme Icon
Slavery and Daily Life  Theme Icon
...end to the misfortune of black folks.” That night, Tituba ventures to a garden of tropical plants , and she prays as hard as she can. (full context)
Epilogue
Surviving vs. Enduring Theme Icon
Slavery and Daily Life  Theme Icon
Archival History vs. Memory Theme Icon
...adopt a young woman named Samantha. From the afterlife, Tituba teaches Samantha how to use tropical plants to heal and change minds, and the two meet up late at night (a time... (full context)