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. In what state did someone reach the midpoint of their lives?

2. What age was Lynch at that time?

3. What did Reader want done with his body after death?

4. What kind of car did the two teachers commit suicide in?

5. When is the Milford Memories festival held?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. Why did Lynch suggest February as a good month for his death and burial?

3. How do Lynch and his wife differ in their views of Milford as they walk through town in Chapter 7?

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

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

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

7. What did Lynch see as the advantage of being at the midpoint of one's life?

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

9. What characteristic of "successful" suicides did Lynch say he admired?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Lynch wanted to know the day he would die so he could recognize the midpoint when he arrived at it. Do you think it is possible to intuitively know the midpoint of your life? Why did Lynch pick that Halloween as his likely midpoint? What was is perspective on his life at that point? What would be the advantages to knowing the midpoint of your life? Would it affect how you viewed different periods of your life? is there actually an equilibrium that people automatically reach at midlife?

Essay Topic 2

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?

Essay Topic 3

Lynch's parents were fundamentally different when it came to raising the kids. His father was obsessed about potential dangers and would have placed a short leash on all of them if possible. His mother left her worries to God. How did those two ways of child rearing affect the kids? Given the parents' beliefs and life experiences, would it have been possible for either one to act differently? Could there have been a happy medium between the two extremes or was that impossible? Did the two approaches complement one another or interfere with one another?

(see the answer keys)

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