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. What time did Lynch leave the office to return home?

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

3. Which sibling took too many pills and almost overdosed?

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

5. Where did Nugent meet his next wife?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. How did Lynch describe the difference between chance and coincidence?

3. What did Lynch see as the advantage of being at the midpoint of one's life?

4. What are the dangers of viewing the dead as an "embarrassment?"

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

6. How did Lynch's mother and father differ in their reactions to the normal "threats" of childhood?

7. Why did Lynch suggest February as a good month for his death and burial?

8. How did Lynch "resolve" his feelings about the existence of God?

9. What did Lynch mean when he said that "in even the best of caskets, it never all fits"?

10. What did Lynch consider the mark of a good faith leader?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

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 2

Discuss Uncle Eddie's suicide cleanup business (note: there are actual businesses that focus on cleaning up scenes of violent deaths, including suicides and murders). How did Eddie's business provide society with a valuable service? How did the cleanup after these deaths usually get done before such services? How is it an act of kindness for an outsider to clean up the scene so that loved ones do not have to see it? How does this relate to the general services provided by funeral parlors and undertakers?

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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