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 what percentage of Americans move at any given time?

2. What drink did Lynch give to Sweeney after telling him the story of the man killed by the falling car?

3. Where was Reader when he died?

4. If he was cremated, where did Reader want his ashes scattered?

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

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10. Describe Lynch's grandmothers.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Although he acknowledges that once he is dead, his opinion will not matter, Lynch provides a blueprint for his own funeral. Discuss the significance of the various aspects of the funeral as described in the last chapter. What is the significance of the time of year? the weather? the preferred services? the desire to have people remain at the graveside until the casket is lowered? What is the ultimate desire of Lynch for his funeral?

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 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?

(see the answer keys)

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