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 acres are in a par four hole on a golf course?

2. What kind of minister was almost decked when he told a grieving parent that the body of her dead daughter was just a shell?

3. In what magazine was Robertson trying to get published?

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

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

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

5. Why do most people never pay attention to the figure Lynch called "The Big One"?

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

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

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

9. What did Lynch mean when he stated that "one hand washes the other" in Chapter 1?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

Discuss the significance of Stephanie's tragic death. Recall that the name on the stone that killed her was the same as the one on the stone next to which she was buried. Was that significant? Was it merely chance or did it provide some insight into the role of faith and coincidence? Discuss the individual choices mentioned by Lynch (the hand of God, the devil did it, etc.). Are any of them satisfactory? Could all of them be right?

Essay Topic 3

Discuss Lynch's friend, Matthew Sweeney. What does his hypochondria say about his attitude toward life? Is he wasting or damaging his life in useless worrying? Or does his worrying simply indicate a deeper understanding of life and acceptance of the fact that death is inevitable? Does his hypochondria place limits on how he lives his life or does it free him to embrace with gusto the good aspects of life (such as fine food)?

(see the answer keys)

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