I Tituba Symbolism

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Maryse Condé’s revisionist novel I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem, aims to expose the bigoted society of Salem and wrote this story based on a “witch’s” testimony by a woman with the name “Tituba”. The records of the actual Salem Witch Trials have little information about the historical Tituba, showing how unimportant the officials of Salem considered her. Conde’s character, however, was not highly regarded, essentially being a nonperson to the white settlers of Salem. Her skin color, religious beliefs and practices, all terrified the Puritans and they consequently blamed her for all their problems. Maryse Condé, in I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem, utilizes religious imagery and the changing views of Tituba, in her descriptions of Salem and …show more content…
The religious imagery in the ship’s name “Christ the King” shows a dichotomy of ideas and values, and reveals some of the hypocrisy of the religious English settlers. The fact that this act of violence is the origin of the main character, Tituba, shows a reoccurring theme of “hatred and contempt” among white settlers towards blacks because the main character is the living embodiment of a rape, an act of cruelty and dehumanization against her mother. Moreover, the name “Christ the King” critiques the religious justification for European imperialism because the word “King” implies power and nobility when in fact these sailors are merely rapists and …show more content…
Condé is able to transition away from Tituba’s identity as a black person to her identity as a woman by introducing Hester. Hester Prynne teaches Tituba how to “confess” her witchcraft and tells her ways to describe Satan “Sometimes he’s a black man…” (100). Here Condé reveals the Puritans’ racist idea of the devil through Hester’s descriptions of the devil as a “black man”. Tituba worries that they will think of John Indian but Hester justifies it by saying “life is too kind to men, whatever their color”. Here another recurring theme is presented about sexism in the colonies and Conde uses the feminist character Hester to describe it. Throughout the story Tituba experiences much worse things than John Indian mainly because she was a woman. Hester’s character highlights a part of the Salem society that is very anti-woman, most of the witches being imprisoned were white, old widows, so Conde is able to shift the people who are in power to be the men instead of just white people. For instance, when Tituba is beaten and sexually assaulted after refusing to condemn other women “…and denounce your accomplices! Good and Osborne and the others!’ ‘I have no accomplice, since I have done nothing.’ One of the men sat squarely astride me and began to hammer my face with his fists, which were as hard as stones. Another lifted my

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