Week One Answers

Contest Instructions | Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4

Week #1 Social Network Answers

April 19, 2021

1.Who does Joseph interact with during this crisis with Alexander? List one or two and describe how they help (or hinder) Joseph.

Most commonly used words in response to the first question

For the first question, many responses paid close attention to family friends of the Svobodas like Jeboory, Tookyeh, and her husband Rezooki. All three were mentioned to have frequently sent telegrams and letters to Alexander on Joseph’s behalf and served as intermediaries between the father and son. They also used their connections in Paris to learn about Alexander’s plans and current state of affairs, but one response mentioned that Rezooki seemingly withheld information from Joseph and caused a great deal of frustration.

Others mentioned that there were those in Joseph’s community who hindered his efforts to bring Alexander home, albeit unwittingly. They highlighted an instance where a P. Pièrre sent money to Alexander against Joseph and Eliza’s wishes, allowing him to continue living independently of his parents. Despite this setback, however, most responses noted how Joseph continued to visit and consult his friends and family before making major decisions. 

2. Between Joseph and Alexander, who do you think had the more reasonable position? Why do you think that?

Most commonly used words in response to the second question

For the second question, many people made distinctions in their answers between what would be considered reasonable in the present day and what would be reasonable in the 19th century. Although marrying for love would be considered the norm today, they pointed out that Alexander came from a tight-knit community and would have been expected to follow the wishes of his family. They also mention that Alexander comes across as ungrateful for his parent’s financial support, and the fact that neither of his parents have met his fiancé did not help his position. However, some pointed out that because the diaries are from Joseph’s perspective, there may be an inherent bias in how certain events are portrayed. Even so, most responses believed that Joseph held the more reasonable position throughout the whole incident. 

Featured Answers

  • “Jeboory talked with Joseph about the crisis and then helped him send out 3 telegrams to Monsr Sevelinge, his wife, and then Alexander I’m assuming. The telegrams seem to be basically explaining the situation to Sevelinge and asking for money and then telling his wife that she needs to call Alexander. Yousif Korkis also helped Joseph send out a telegram to Razkallah basically saying the same thing and to not help Alexander leave Baghdad.” – Miranda Wei, in response to question one
  • “From my understanding of the text, it seems as if Joseph is distraught by the fact that Alexander wishes to marry a woman he met in Paris without the consent of Joseph, his father. Furthermore, it seems as if this women is suspected of being a prostitute, and that the news of these events are becoming a great embarrassment for Joseph. It is hard to tell who is in the right or wrong, however, as we are only able to observe these events from Joseph’s perspective, which introduces a bias that, of course, Alexander is in the wrong and Joseph is in the right. Therefore, I don’t feel as if we can conclude who is more reasonable.” – Sam Fields, in response to question two