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. To what animal did Lynch allude in making his analogy about living at the midpoint?

3. What medical topic did Sweeney broach when eating rainbow trout?

4. What was the look on the face of the man killed by the falling car?

5. Approximately how many suicides had Kevorkian assisted in by the end of 1996?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10. Describe Lynch's grandmothers.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 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

Discuss Uncle Eddie's suicide cleanup business (note: there are actual businesses that focus on cleaning up scenes of violent deaths, including suicides and murders). How did Eddie's business provide society with a valuable service? How did the cleanup after these deaths usually get done before such services? How is it an act of kindness for an outsider to clean up the scene so that loved ones do not have to see it? How does this relate to the general services provided by funeral parlors and undertakers?

(see the answer keys)

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