The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade Test | Final 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 was the cause of death in the case of the young man Lynch tended to in "All Hallows' Eve"?

2. What did Reader want done with his body after death?

3. What kind of car crushed a worker at a scrap metal yard in Lynch's story?

4. What age was Lynch at that time?

5. What medical topic did Sweeney broach when eating rainbow trout?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. How does Lynch describe people's different approaches to living life at the end of Chapter 8 and which approach did Sweeney take?

3. What lesson did Lynch want to teach Sweeney with his story of the man killed by the falling vehicle at the scrap metal yard?

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

5. Describe Matthew Sweeney's personality.

6. Describe Lynch's grandmothers.

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

8. How did Lynch feel about the prospect of his loved ones feeling guilt at his funeral?

9. Why have more and more Americans opted for cremation, according to Lynch?

10. Why do people feel the need to memorialize the dead?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Lynch quotes Gladstone as stating that he could tell how a people respected the laws of the land by how they treated their dead. Do you agree with this? What does the way in which society treats its dead say about that society? Does it go beyond simply obeying laws? How does a society's way of "caring" for the dead reflect its attitude toward life? How do you think modern American society treats its dead and how does this reflect our overall society?

Essay Topic 2

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 3

Lynch and his brothers embalmed their father's body at his request. What was the significance of this act? Do you think it was painful or satisfying? Why did the father want his sons to do this? Why did the sons agree to it rather than hire another undertaker from outside the family? How did the father benefit from knowing that his sons would be there for him at his death? And how did the sons benefit from this act?

(see the answer keys)

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