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

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

3. When did Lynch feel his midpoint had arrived?

4. To what society club did Lynch belong?

5. Who did Lynch want to serve as pallbearers?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following 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

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

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?

(see the answer keys)

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