The Third Level is the first chapter of the Class 12th book Vistas, it has been written by Jack Finney. This story is about Charley who is trying to find an escape from this modern world filled with stress and insecurity. This article includes a detailed summary of The Last Lesson with the most important word meanings, and after you have completed the summary test your knowledge with MCQ quiz questions at last.
Writer– Jack Finney.
“Maybe I live in what is for me the wrong time.”
The Third Level is written by American author Jack Finney who was born in 1911 and was a famous science fiction writer. The lesson has the background of the 1950’s New York where everyone in this rat race is filled with insecurity, fear, and worry all the time. while back in the 1890’s everything was calm, joyful, and peaceful.
The story is narrated by Charley who claims to have reached the third level of Grand Central Station in New York. Which in reality doesn’t exist, in this summary you will find out why he claimed to go there, How was the third level was, and did he ever went there again or not?
The Third Level Summary.
Charley tells everyone about the third level
Charley claims to have visited the Third Level of The Grand Central Station But according to the railway authorities, there are only two levels in the Grand Central Station. No one believes Charley and when he told it to his psychiatrist friend, he said that it was a waking dream wish fulfillment. He told Charley that he was unhappy and looking for an escape from reality. This made his wife a little mad. He also said that everyone wants to escape from this world filled with insecurity, fear, worry, and war.
Everyone said that Charley’s habit of collecting stamps was a way to escape from reality. But according to Charley, his stamp collecting was not an escape from the Harsh reality as his grandfather started it back in the days when the outer reality was nice and peaceful. According to him, it’s just a hobby, and it has got nothing to do with outer reality.
NCERT Textbooks in English for class 12 – Flamingo and Vistas
Charley’s visit to the Third Level.
One summer night after working till late Charley was in a rush to reach home to his wife, Louisa so he decided to take a Subway from the Grand Central as it was faster than a bus.
Charley looked like any other 31-year-old guy he was wearing a brown gabardine suit and a straw hat. After he arrived at the Grand Central, he went down two flights of stairs and came to the second level where the Suburban trains used to leave from. Charlie had been in and out of the Grand Central hundred of times but that day he got lost when he went into an arched gateway. But this wasn’t the first time Charley had been lost according to him once he entered into a tunnel and came out of the Roosevelt hotel, another time he came out of an office building 3 blocks away. He thinks that the Grand Central Station is growing like a tree and spreading its root-like tunnels under New York City.
This time when he reached the end of the tunnel, he found out that he was on the third level of the Grand Central Station. There he noticed a man wearing a green eyeshade and long Black sleeve protectors sitting in an old wooden information box. There were open flame gas lights, which were dim and flickering with brass spittoons on the floor. People were wearing derby hats and 4 button suits. Charlie had not seen so many beards, mustaches, and sideburns in his entire life. Then he glimpsed at the carrier and Ives locomotive(engine) everything looked like the 1890s, it confirmed his doubt when he saw the first page of The World(a newspaper) that was printed on June 11, 1894.
Then Charlie moves to the ticket window as he wanted two one-way tickets to Galesburg, Illinois. he wanted one ticket for him and one for his wife, Louisa. But when charlie took out the money and started counting it, the clerk started staring at him and said “that ain’t money mister”. Now Charlie looked at the cash drawer beside the clerk. He noticed that it was filled with the old currency. Now Charlie was afraid to go to jail in 1894, so he escaped from the third level.
The next day Charley drew all of his money from the bank that was 300 dollars and bought old-style currency for which he had to pay a premium. 300 dollars got him less than 200 dollars of old money, but it was ok as everything was very cheap in 1894.
Sam Weiner is Missing
But even after trying a lot of times, Charley never again found the corridor to the third level at the grand central station. When he told his wife all this, she got worried and after some time Charley went back to his hobby of collecting stamps.
One day Charley’s friend Sam Weiner disappeared, and nobody knew where to find him.
Now Charlie was sure that the third level exists as one day when Charley was going through his stamp collection he found a unique first-day cover which he had never seen before. it was written on 11th July 1894 Which was sent to Charley by Sam.
In this letter, Sam wrote that Charlie was right about the Third Level and they should keep looking Till they found the Third Level again. Sam wrote that he had found the Third Level and was in Galesburg. he added it was a very romantic and peaceful place and everybody was always singing and playing the piano. Now Charlie found out that Sam had got $800 of old currency, which was enough for him to set up a feed and grain business, which he had always wanted to do so. As now he couldn’t do his old business in 1894 because Sam was none other than Charley’s psychiatrist.
The Third Level was written in 1950 and the author Jack Finney was born in 1911, so he had seen both of the world wars in his lifetime. Hence, throughout the chapter, it can be seen how that memory is still fresh in his memory.
The main theme of the chapter is how an ordinary man is stressed in this modern world filled with war, worry, fear, and insecurity and up to what extent he will go to escape from it. Throughout the chapter, it can be seen that how Charley escapes from the modern world of New York to the fantasy world of Galesburg. these two worlds seem to overlap each other.
We can see that how Charley doesn’t care about what anybody thinks of himself and he is still persistent in his fantasy and doesn’t give up on finding The Third Level.
The Third Level Summary-Word Meanings.
- psychiatrist- a doctor who specializes in medical health.
- refuge- a shelter from danger.
- First-day covers– a specially designed envelope, containing newly issued postage stamps. which were postmarked on the first day that those stamps were placed on sale by the Post Office.
- Subway- an underground railroad in a city.
- tan- brown.
- Gabardine-a thick cloth used for making coats.
- Flight- a set of stairs between two floors of a building.
- Ducked- bent down.
- Angling- turning.
- Slanting- sloping.
- Green Eyeshade- a type of visor worn by accountants in order to reduce eyestrain.
- Flickering- shinning irregularly.
- Spittoons- a vessel used for spitting tobacco.
- Glint- reflection in brilliant flashes.
- Glanced- to take a quick look at something.
- Frowned- a facial expression of displeasure.
- Locomotive- a train engine.
- Fare- the price of tickets.
- Nodded- moving head in a quick downward motion showing agreement.
- BIlls- currency.
- Skin me- loot me.
- Premium- an amount that is more than usual.
- Porch- a room that is in front of the entrance of a building.
- Hay- grass that has been cut and dried for animal use.