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 did Lynch have a drink of every night?

2. Where did they conduct this conference?

3. What concept did the Second Vatican Council eliminate?

4. To what town was Lynch's father's body brought?

5. In what era did Gladstone live?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does Lynch view the work done by his colleague Wesley Rice with the young, murdered girl?

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

3. How did Lynch try to maintain some of the old traditions after he fixed up the Irish cottage when Nora passed away?

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

5. Why did the priest insist on a simple funeral and burial service and why was Lynch unimpressed?

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

7. Why did Nugent have several relationships following his divorce and did they help him find love?

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

Lynch wanted to know the day he would die so he could recognize the midpoint when he arrived at it. Do you think it is possible to intuitively know the midpoint of your life? Why did Lynch pick that Halloween as his likely midpoint? What was is perspective on his life at that point? What would be the advantages to knowing the midpoint of your life? Would it affect how you viewed different periods of your life? is there actually an equilibrium that people automatically reach at midlife?

Essay Topic 3

Although he acknowledges that once he is dead, his opinion will not matter, Lynch provides a blueprint for his own funeral. Discuss the significance of the various aspects of the funeral as described in the last chapter. What is the significance of the time of year? the weather? the preferred services? the desire to have people remain at the graveside until the casket is lowered? What is the ultimate desire of Lynch for his funeral?

(see the answer keys)

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