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 did Lynch not want at his funeral?

2. In what year was Matthew Sweeney born?

3. How many assisted suicides are cremated?

4. What TV show did Mary Jackson appear in?

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

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

5. What did Lynch mean when he said that "in even the best of caskets, it never all fits"?

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

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

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

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

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 significance of Stephanie's tragic death. Recall that the name on the stone that killed her was the same as the one on the stone next to which she was buried. Was that significant? Was it merely chance or did it provide some insight into the role of faith and coincidence? Discuss the individual choices mentioned by Lynch (the hand of God, the devil did it, etc.). Are any of them satisfactory? Could all of them be right?

Essay Topic 2

In discussing the divorce of his friend, Henry Nugent, Lynch said divorced men in our society are seen as damaged goods. What did he mean by that? In what ways was the divorce easier on Nugent's ex-wife? How does divorce affect the father's relationship with the children? How did Lynch's divorce differ from many other American divorces?

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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