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. To what society club did Lynch belong?

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

3. When were the first sealed caskets made?

4. What seafood dish did Lynch refer to at the end of Chapter 8?

5. How many trials did Kevorkian face and successfully avoid conviction in Oakland County?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. How did Lynch react to the body of the young man who shot himself in Chapter 9?

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

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

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

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

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

8. Describe Matthew Sweeney's personality.

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

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

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 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 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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