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 Ernest Fuller serve in the military?

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

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

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

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

4. How did the modern amenities (toilet, television, etc.) change life in the old Irish cottage?

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

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

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

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

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

10. How did Lynch handle being a father while serving as an undertaker and seeing dead children?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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?

Essay Topic 2

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?

Essay Topic 3

Lynch described the toilet as an invention that was essential in robbing us of our ability to deal directly with the less savory aspects of life, including the eventuality of death for us all. Do you agree with this? Does the fact that we no longer have to deal in an intimate manner with our life cycle make it more difficult to deal with that cycle? Has death become something we are embarrassed by? If so, how does that affect our attitude toward the dead?

(see the answer keys)

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