The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Thomas Lynch
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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. In what month did Roberton's poem appear in the magazine?

2. In what year was Lynch's Michigan house built?

3. How old was the boy whose mother strangled him with a belt?

4. What did Lynch say was God's greatest gift?

5. What was St. Stephen the patron saint of?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why do most people never pay attention to the figure Lynch called "The Big One"?

2. How does society generally view cemeteries, according to Lynch?

3. What did Lynch mean by "the poor cousin of fear is rage?"

4. According to Lynch, why do people find it important to have bodies to bury?

5. Of all the choices offered by Lynch to explain Stephanie's death, which one seemed to be the one he would choose?

6. What did Lynch lament about the modern homes Americans live in?

7. Did Lynch profess to a certain fascination with dead bodies?

8. How did Lynch convey the sensuality of the preparation and eating of the artichoke?

9. If the dead don't care, why did Lynch get up in the middle of the night to tend to the newly deceased?

10. What is the essential difference between burying the old and burying infants?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Lynch suggested that a priest interested in a simple funeral might have more of an effect on his parishioners if he lived a life of simplicity rather than wait until he was dead (and beyond caring). Why did Lynch say that a being a dead saint was not worthwhile? Would a simple funeral satisfy the needs of the living and would it convince people of the saintliness of the dead person? Or is it better to live a life of simplicity and then allow the living to do whatever they feel the need to do once you've died? Why did the priest seem shocked by Lynch's advice?

Essay Topic 2

Lynch's parents were fundamentally different when it came to raising the kids. His father was obsessed about potential dangers and would have placed a short leash on all of them if possible. His mother left her worries to God. How did those two ways of child rearing affect the kids? Given the parents' beliefs and life experiences, would it have been possible for either one to act differently? Could there have been a happy medium between the two extremes or was that impossible? Did the two approaches complement one another or interfere with one another?

Essay Topic 3

Houses used to be the location of many of life's most significant occurrences (birth, courtship, marriage, death and funeral preparation). Today, many American homes have rooms that are rarely used (living rooms) and rooms that appear to be nothing more than trophies (huge kitchens in homes where eating out is the norm). How has this change affected society? How has it affected the ability of families to remain close to one another? Are there any benefits to this arrangement? How has isolating key aspects of life from one another affected us?

(see the answer keys)

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