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 kind of coffin did the priest want to be buried in?

2. Why do undertakers massage the body?

3. What was the name of the woman whose body smelled bad because of her last meal?

4. Where did they conduct this conference?

5. On what day was Milo buried?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. How did the funeral processions through town change when the Oak Grove bridge collapsed?

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

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

6. Why did Janet Adkins ask Jack Kevorkian to assist in her suicide?

7. Why did Lynch suggest February as a good month for his death and burial?

8. How did Lynch's mother and father differ in their reactions to the normal "threats" of childhood?

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

10. What did Lynch want from his funeral, when all was said and done?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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?

Essay Topic 2

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?

Essay Topic 3

Lynch discussed how society has accepted certain deaths in the names of choice, justice, and God. How does this willingness to accept the end of life in some cases affect society as a whole? How does a society determine where to draw the line? How does this attitude affect attitudes toward life itself? Why do people who accept some death choices utterly reject others? Is Lynch right when he states that primitive humans had a more civilized attitude toward life and death?

(see the answer keys)

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