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Tituba of Salem Village is a 1964 children's novel by African-American writer Ann Petry about the 17th-century West Indian slave of the same name who was the first to be accused of practicing witchcraft during the 1692 Salem witch trials. Written for children 10 and up, it portrays Tituba as a black West Indian woman who tells stories about life in Barbados to the village girls. These stories are mingled with existing superstitions and half-remembered pagan beliefs on the part of Puritans, and the witchcraft hysteria is partly attributed to a sort of cabin fever during a particularly bitter winter. Petry's portrayal of the helplessness of women in that period, particularly slaves and indentured servants, is key to understanding her view of the Tituba legend.
In this rendition of the Salem Witch Trials, the novel is narrated from Tituba's point of view. Tituba was an enslaved woman from the island of Barbados. She and her husband, John, worked for their Mistress Susanna Endicott until she sold them to Reverend Samuel to pay off her gambling debts. After being sold, the two embark on a journey to Bay Colony with Reverend Samuel Paris, his wife Mistress Paris, his daughter Betsey Paris, and niece Abigail Williams. While on the journey, Tituba is ambushed by a stowaway on the ship named Pim. She agrees to keep him hidden and bring him food until they reach their destination. One night, as Tituba brings Pim his food, she sees Abigail quietly running away. When they reach their destination, Pim is discovered and taken into servitude.
Once on land, the Reverend and his family, Tituba and John, resided in the Bay Colony in Boston. Samuel quickly hired John out to earn extra money. Tituba cared for Samuel's wife, Mistress Paris, who was very sickly. Tituba also cared for Betsey and Abigail. While in Boston, Paris' neighbor Samuel Conklin befriended Tituba. He was a weaver who lived close by. She became very skilled at weaving through his teachings. As the seasons changed, Tituba started reminiscing about her homeland, Barbados. When spring arrived, Tituba was searching for herbs in the forest, but she could not find the same herbs that grew in Barbados. While in the woods, she met Judah White. Judah showed her what herbs to use to help her make her tea. As she was leaving, Samuel Paris saw Tituba with Judah. He instructed her to stay away from Judah because she was a witch.
As spring went on, Tituba noticed farmers from Salem Village coming to see Samuel Paris frequently. Early in the story, Tituba overheard Samuel Paris telling Mistress Paris he would only be a minister in Boston and nowhere else. However, John learns at the tavern that the churches in Boston did not want Reverend Paris due to his invalid wife. Throughout the season, Samuel made a trip to Salem Village, and when he returned, he told the family they would be moving there soon.
When November came, the group made the journey to Salem Village. Once they arrived at their new residence, Tituba noticed two eggs on the front steps. The eggs smelled rotten, and she wondered who left them there and why. As they made their way inside the new home, they were greeted by Mary Sibley. As Samuel introduced everyone, he introduced her and John as servants instead of slaves. The family settled into the house, and Goody Sibley inquired about where they lived previously. Abigail happily answered and started reiterating the story of the Witch Glover, who was hanged for bewitching the Goodwin children in Boston.
As Tituba settled into her new environment, Abigail started making friends with the girls around town. The girls, Mary Walcott, Elizabeth Hubbard, Mercy Lewis, Elizabeth Booth, Susanna Sheldon, Anne Putnam Jr., Mary Warren, and Sarah Churchill, all started to visit the Paris home. While there, they tried to force Betsey to have a "fit." When Betsey had a fit, they believed this to be a sign of bewitching or ghosts. When Tituba intercepted their actions, they would convince her to tell them stories of Barbados.
One night, things escalated. Mary Lewis had brought a deck of tarot cards, and the girls wanted Tituba to read them. At first, she refused but then relented. She told Mary Warren her "fortune," which was that she would marry a wealthy merchant. However, Tituba lied; her actual fortune was that people would hang out because of her. This sent the girls into a frenzy.
A few weeks later, Abigail and Betsey started to have fits where they would scream and run around, leading the church to say they were bewitched. This became even more widespread after Pim tried convincing Mercy Lewis to leave with him. He cut and burned her hair so she could appear as a guy. Due to this, she refused and, in an attempt to hide the truth, blamed it on the devil and an old woman. However, she confessed the truth to Tituba since Pim received hair dye from her before he left on his journey. Mercy Lewis's situation led Goody Sibley to bake a witch cake to draw out the witch responsible for the village's bewitching.
After the witch cake was baked, Tituba ran outside due to the house's smoke and inability to see. Outside, she encountered old Gammer Osburne and Goody Good. When the three returned to the house together, the girls stared at them until Abigail accused Tituba of being a witch. Then Mercy Lewis accused Goody Good of being a witch, and Mary Warren accused her aunt, Gammer Osburne, of being a witch. A few days later, the girls all started to have fits and told the church that Tituba, Goody Good, and Gammer Osburne had bewitched them. This accusation led to Samuel Paris beating a confession out of Tituba and the arrest of all three women.
All three women stood trial, and every time they were on the confession chair, the girls started having fits until the women were instructed to touch them, and they were cured. The women were charged and sent to prison. Goody Good was hanged and never gave a confession to being a witch. Gammer Osburne died in jail the same year. Tituba was jailed for over a year and worked in the kitchen during her time. After a little over a year, all accused and jailed for witchcraft were pardoned, but many had jail fees to pay. Tituba thought Reverend Samuel would pay her fees, but she was wrong. He would only pay her fees if she confessed to being a witch. Eventually, her old neighbor Samuel Conklin returned, paid her fees, and bought her. A few months later, he went back and purchased John as well.
Breslaw, Elaine G. “Tituba’s Confession: The Multicultural Dimensions of the 1692 Salem Witch-Hunt.” Ethnohistory, vol. 44, no. 3, 1997, pp. 535–56. JSTOR, https://doi.org/10.2307/483035. Accessed 5 Nov. 2023.
Morsberger, Robert E. “The Further Transformation of Tituba.” The New England Quarterly, vol. 47, no. 3, 1974, pp. 456–58. JSTOR, https://doi.org/10.2307/364382. Accessed 5 Nov. 2023.
Rahming, Melvin B. “Phenomenology, Epistemology, Ontology, and Spirit: The Caribbean Perspective in Ann Petry’s ‘Tituba of Salem Village.’” South Central Review, vol. 20, no. 2/4, 2003, pp. 24–46. JSTOR, https://doi.org/10.2307/3189784. Accessed 4 Nov. 2023.
The Crucible is a 1953 play by American playwright Arthur Miller. It is a dramatized and partially fictionalized story of the Salem witch trials that took place in the Massachusetts Bay Colony during 1692–93. Miller wrote the play as an allegory for McCarthyism, when the United States government persecuted people accused of being communists. Miller was questioned by the House of Representatives' Committee on Un-American Activities in 1956 and convicted of contempt of Congress for refusing to identify others present at meetings he had attended.
The Salem witch trials were a series of hearings and prosecutions of people accused of witchcraft in colonial Massachusetts between February 1692 and May 1693. More than 200 people were accused. Thirty people were found guilty, nineteen of whom were executed by hanging. One other man, Giles Corey, died under torture after refusing to enter a plea, and at least five people died in jail.
Abigail Williams was an 11- or 12-year-old girl who, along with nine-year-old Betty Parris, was among the first of the children to falsely accuse their neighbors of witchcraft in 1692; these accusations eventually led to the Salem witch trials.
Elizabeth "Betty" Parris was one of the young girls who accused other people of being witches during the Salem witch trials. The accusations made by Parris and her cousin Abigail Williams caused the direct death of 20 Salem residents: 19 were hanged, while another, Giles Corey, was pressed to death.
Samuel Parris was the Puritan minister in Salem Village, Massachusetts, during the Salem witch trials. He was also the father of one of the afflicted girls, and the uncle of another.
Tituba was a Native American enslaved woman who was one of the first to be accused of witchcraft during the Salem witch trials of 1692–1693.
Mary Walcott was one of the "afflicted" girls called as a witness at the Salem witch trials in early 1692-93.
Bridget Bishop was the first person executed for witchcraft during the Salem witch trials in 1692. Nineteen were hanged, and one, Giles Corey, was pressed to death. Altogether, about 200 people were tried.
The Crucible is a 1996 American historical drama film directed by Nicholas Hytner and written by Arthur Miller, based on his 1953 play of the same title. It stars Daniel Day-Lewis as John Proctor, Winona Ryder as Abigail Williams, Paul Scofield as Judge Thomas Danforth, Joan Allen as Elizabeth Proctor, and Bruce Davison as Reverend Samuel Parris. Set during the Salem witch trials, the film follows a group of teenage girls who, after getting caught conjuring love spells in the woods, are forced to lie that Satan had "invaded" them, and accuse several innocent people of witchcraft.
The Crucible is a 1957 joint Franco-East German film production directed by Raymond Rouleau with a screenplay adapted by Jean-Paul Sartre from the 1953 play The Crucible, by Arthur Miller.
Sarah Good was one of the first three women to be accused of witchcraft in the Salem witch trials, which occurred in 1692 in colonial Massachusetts.
Mary Ann Warren was an accuser and later confessed witch during the 1692 Salem witch trials. She was a servant for John and Elizabeth Proctor. Renouncing her claims after threats of beating from her master, she was later accused and arrested for allegedly practicing witchcraft herself, after which she again became afflicted and accused others of witchcraft. Her life after the trials is unknown.
Sarah Osborne (also variously spelled Osbourne, Osburne, or Osborn; née Warren, formerly Prince, was a colonist in the Massachusetts Bay colony and one of the first women to be accused of witchcraft in the Salem witch trials of 1692. Sarah Osborn was suggested to be a witch by Sarah Good. Sarah Good said she had been tormenting the girls.
Cultural depictions of the Salem witch trials abound in art, literature and popular media in the United States, from the early 19th century to the present day. The literary and dramatic depictions are discussed in Marion Gibson's Witchcraft Myths in American Culture and see also Bernard Rosenthal's Salem Story: Reading the Witch Trials of 1692
This timeline of the Salem witch trials is a quick overview of the events.
Elizabeth Howe was one of the accused in the Salem witch trials. She was found guilty and executed on July 19, 1692.
Elizabeth Booth was born in 1674 and was one of the accusers in the Salem Witch Trials. She grew up in Salem, Massachusetts, as the second eldest of ten children. When she was sixteen she was accused of being a witch. When she was eighteen, she began accusing people of practicing witchcraft, including John Proctor, Elizabeth Proctor, Sarah Proctor, William Proctor, Benjamin Proctor, Woody Proctor, Giles Corey, Martha Corey, Job Tookey, and Wilmont Redd. Five of these people were executed due to Booth's testimony. Elizabeth Proctor would have been executed as well if she was not pregnant. After the Witch Trials, Booth married Israel Shaw on December 26, 1695, and had two children named Israel and Susanna. Booth's death date is unknown.
Mary Black was a slave of African descent in the household of Nathaniel Putnam of the Putnam family who was accused of witchcraft during the Salem witch trials. Nathaniel's nephew was Thomas Putnam, one of the primary accusers, though Nathaniel himself was skeptical and even defended Rebecca Nurse. Mary was arrested, indicted, and imprisoned, but did not go to trial, and was released by proclamation on January 21, 1693 [O.S. January 11, 1692]. She returned to Nathaniel's household after she was released, another indication of Nathaniel's view of the charges against her.
I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem is a French novel by Maryse Condé published in 1986. It won the French Grand Prix award for women's literature.