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 was the name of the village Tommy and Nora Lynch lived in?

2. To what fast food restaurant did Lynch refer when talking about non-custodial parents?

3. To what state did the Nugents move after marrying?

4. Approximately how much do cremated human remains weigh?

5. What did Lynch's mother convince her husband to get their son Dan?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. What are the unique problems faced by undertakers trying to "advertise" their services?

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

5. When and why did the regular practice of embalming begin?

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

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss the significance of the rebuilding of the Oak Grove bridge. Why was Mary Jackson so determined to have her funeral procession take the traditional route across the bridge to the cemetery? What sentiments did Lynch express in his poem for the dedication? How is a town affected by its proximity to the dead and its willingness to acknowledge, rather than hide, the dead? How were the older funeral processions (past houses rather than businesses) superior to the ones after the bridge collapsed? Why is it important that the dead be remembered?

Essay Topic 2

Discuss the artichoke poem described in Chapter 5. How did the poet use sexual imagery in describing the vegetable? Why did he choose to describe an artichoke instead of a woman? Why did so many people respond to the poem in the way the author clearly intended? Is there some unspoken connection between food and sex?

Essay Topic 3

Discuss the feasibility of the "golfatorium" envisioned by Lynch. Would Americans accept such a concept? How would it fit into the general American attitude that cemeteries are a waste of land because they don't serve the living? How would it fit into the American concept of one-stop shopping for services? Would it be possible to maintain a sense of respect and dignity for the dead at a golf course?

(see the answer keys)

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