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. Approximately how many of his townspeople were cremated each year?

2. How many words did Roberton's poem contain?

3. In what month did the Michigan undertakers conduct their conference?

4. How many years of marriage did Nugent's poem refer to?

5. How much of his gross earnings were profit?

Short Essay Questions

1. What was Lynch's view of the notion that the corpse is just an empty shell?

2. Why was Lynch's father fond of quoting Gladstone?

3. Why did the undertakers at the conference seem intent of developing new language to explain what they did for a living?

4. Why did the Lynch brothers take care of their father's body rather than allow a local undertaker to do the job?

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

6. Why did Lynch say some cultural groups (immigrant Irish, Diaspora Jews, African-Americans) actually"enjoy" funerals?

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

8. How was Lynch helped by stopping his drinking?

9. What was Nora's reaction to her impending death?

10. Why did Lynch enjoy not having access to indoor plumbing when he first visited his cousins in Ireland?

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

In the first chapter, Lynch repeatedly states that "the dead don't care" and that only the living care what happens to the body. Why are the dead valuable to the living? Why do the living feel the need to have ceremonies and other ways to recognize someone who no longer cares? In what ways are funeral services really for the living? Would it really matter what we do with the dead?

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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