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 immigrant group did Lynch say has a fondness for funeral services?

2. Where did Milo die?

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

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

5. In what year was Thomas Lynch's first child born?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. What did Lynch lament about the modern homes Americans live in?

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

5. Why was Henry Nugent unable to get relief from his heartbreak following his divorce?

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

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

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

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

10. What did Lynch mean by "the poor cousin of fear is rage?"

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Lynch suggested that a priest interested in a simple funeral might have more of an effect on his parishioners if he lived a life of simplicity rather than wait until he was dead (and beyond caring). Why did Lynch say that a being a dead saint was not worthwhile? Would a simple funeral satisfy the needs of the living and would it convince people of the saintliness of the dead person? Or is it better to live a life of simplicity and then allow the living to do whatever they feel the need to do once you've died? Why did the priest seem shocked by Lynch's advice?

Essay Topic 2

Discuss the significance of Wesley Rice's work on the young girl who had been brutally murdered. How important was it that this work be done? Why did the mother insist on seeing her daughter one last time? How did Rice's "repair" work give the girl's body back to her family? Is the work done on corpses "barbaric," as Jessica Mitford claimed, or a kindness, as Lynch saw it? What kind of person does it take to do this kind of work?

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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