Study Guide

Tituba in A Break With Charity

By Ann Rinaldi

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Tituba is in a tough spot: She's a slave owned by Reverend Parris, so that's totally horrible; she's the first person to be accused of witchcraft, which stinks big time; and Reverend Parris beats her, which is just awful. Oh—and even though she's got her hubby John Indian around, by the end of the book Tituba is sold off to a new master. Yep, things couldn't get much worse for poor Tituba.

Now here's the extra sad part: most of Tituba's story is true. Reverend Parris really did own a slave named Tituba and she really was the first to be called a witch and put on trial back in Salem.

Right off the bat, we know that Tituba is going to be important in this story. She likes to dabble in prophecies and a wee bit of magic, which makes her pretty powerful. When Susanna first meets with Tituba she says:

This woman was not dull, I minded. She had powers to conjure, yes, but more than that—she could read people's hearts. (2.97)

Susanna sure is impressed with Tituba's abilities and—importantly—she doesn't think they're all that evil.

But you can bet the townsfolk in Salem don't agree. And because Tituba is pretty good at her magic, she gets stuck with the blame for starting the witch madness—in fact, the first person Ann Putnam accuses of being a witch is Tituba. We know that Tituba hasn't been doing any evil magic, but she's stuck with the blame all the same. And since she's enslaved, she struggles to save herself, which makes us super sad.

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