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 kind of food was served at The Red Fort?

2. What seafood dish did Lynch refer to at the end of Chapter 8?

3. In Lynch's analogy of life as a trip across America, at what point do you meet a girl?

4. What magazines did Lynch find on the wife's side of the bed?

5. At what age did Lynch's mother die?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10. What perspective did Lynch reach on the night his mother was buried?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

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?

Essay Topic 3

Discuss the significance of the rebuilding of the Oak Grove bridge. Why was Mary Jackson so determined to have her funeral procession take the traditional route across the bridge to the cemetery? What sentiments did Lynch express in his poem for the dedication? How is a town affected by its proximity to the dead and its willingness to acknowledge, rather than hide, the dead? How were the older funeral processions (past houses rather than businesses) superior to the ones after the bridge collapsed? Why is it important that the dead be remembered?

(see the answer keys)

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