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. In what year was St. Stephen martyred?

2. For what Irish patriot was the bridge in the chapter named?

3. In which state did the accident occur?

4. What style poem did Nugent write?

5. How did Milo die?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. How does Lynch view a world in which certain deaths are acceptable (abortion, war, capital punishment)?

3. How did Lynch react to the body of the young man who shot himself in Chapter 9?

4. How do most people view undertakers, according to Lynch?

5. How does Sweeney approach the consuming of food delicacies?

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

7. Why did authors such as Jessica Mitford attack the funeral industry?

8. How was Lynch helped by stopping his drinking?

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

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

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Discuss the assisted suicide doctor, Jack Kevorkian. Why were so many people willing to allow him to "assist" them in killing themselves? How does Lynch view the notion of providing someone with assistance in suicide? How did the general public react to Kevorkian and why was he not convicted? Is there an absolute value of life or can society reach an agreement about when people may choose to end theirs?

Essay Topic 2

Lynch discussed the criticisms faced by his profession from various authors and the media. Were these criticisms justified? Is there something inherent in the field that makes it impossible for "customers" to get a fair deal? Does preplanning a funeral help avoid some of the more difficult issues? Why do people criticize the profession as a whole while insisting that they themselves had a positive experience in the past? How does Lynch defend his profession?

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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