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 how many Japanese die of fugu poisoning every year?

2. What did Lynch suggest as music for his funeral?

3. Before Kevorkian, how many attempted suicides were women?

4. Who did Lynch want to serve as pallbearers?

5. What TV show did Mary Jackson appear in?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

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

6. Describe Lynch's grandmothers.

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

8. What did Lynch mean when he said that "in even the best of caskets, it never all fits"?

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

Discuss Lynch's friend, Matthew Sweeney. What does his hypochondria say about his attitude toward life? Is he wasting or damaging his life in useless worrying? Or does his worrying simply indicate a deeper understanding of life and acceptance of the fact that death is inevitable? Does his hypochondria place limits on how he lives his life or does it free him to embrace with gusto the good aspects of life (such as fine food)?

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

In the first chapter, Lynch repeatedly states that "the dead don't care" and that only the living care what happens to the body. Why are the dead valuable to the living? Why do the living feel the need to have ceremonies and other ways to recognize someone who no longer cares? In what ways are funeral services really for the living? Would it really matter what we do with the dead?

(see the answer keys)

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