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

2. What "coupons" did Lynch give to his family in "The Tract"?

3. How many assisted suicides are cremated?

4. How many bridges once crossed the town's river?

5. To what Irish hero did Lynch compare Russ Reader?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss the artichoke poem described in Chapter 5. How did the poet use sexual imagery in describing the vegetable? Why did he choose to describe an artichoke instead of a woman? Why did so many people respond to the poem in the way the author clearly intended? Is there some unspoken connection between food and sex?

Essay Topic 2

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 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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