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. Approximately how many suicides had Kevorkian assisted in by the end of 1996?

2. How many assisted suicides are cremated?

3. In what year did John Hillenbrand purchase the Batesville Coffin Company?

4. In what Irish county was Sweeney born?

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

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

4. Describe Lynch's grandmothers.

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

6. Describe Matthew Sweeney's personality.

7. How does Lynch view the current state of debate over abortion?

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

9. What kind of music did Lynch want at his funeral?

10. What statement does a casket, versus a simple coffin, make?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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?

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 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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