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 and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

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

2. What was did the Oak Grove cemetery pre-date?

3. What American writer referred to the "imp of the perverse"?

4. When was the Oak Grove Bridge declared unsafe for vehicular traffic?

5. When is the Milford Memories festival held?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Lynch discussed the criticisms faced by his profession from various authors and the media. Were these criticisms justified? Is there something inherent in the field that makes it impossible for "customers" to get a fair deal? Does preplanning a funeral help avoid some of the more difficult issues? Why do people criticize the profession as a whole while insisting that they themselves had a positive experience in the past? How does Lynch defend his profession?

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?

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