The Third Level Class 12 Summary, Explanation, Question Answers

The Third Level Summary Class 12


The Third Level Summary, Explanation with Video and Question Answers (Solutions)

CBSE Class 12 English Vistas Book Chapter 1

The Third Level – CBSE Class 12 English Vistas Book Lesson 1 The Third Level Summary and Detailed explanation of the lesson along with meanings of difficult words.  Solutions of the exercises and Questions and Answers given at the back of the lessons have been covered. Also, Take Free Online MCQs Test for Class 12


Class 12 English (Vistas) Chapter 1 The Third Level

by Jack Finney

The Third Level Introduction

The Third Level by Jack Finney is about the harsh realities of war. War has irreversible consequences thus leaving people in a state of insecurity. It is also about modern-day problems and how the common man tends to escape reality by various means. In this story, a man named Charley hallucinates and reaches the third level of the Grand Central Station which only has two levels.


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Theme of the Lesson

The third level represents a break from the “full of insecurity, fear, war, worry and all the rest of it” modern world. The 1890s depict a tranquil lifestyle that is not feasible in the present. The main character wants to take his wife Louisa to Galesburg, Illinois, from this point on. While his psychiatrist friend refers to it as a “waking-dream wish fulfilment,” for him, it is a part of reality.


The Third Level Class 12 Video Part 1 Explanation


The Third Level Summary

Summary of  The Third Level is given below

The story revolves around a 31 year old man named Charley, who experienced something weird. One day after work coming from the Subway, he reached the third level of the Grand Central station (which doesn’t actually exist). He reminisces the entire experience with his psychiatrist friend Sam. Charley thought he experienced time travel and had reached somewhere in the eighteen-nineties, a time before the world saw two of its most deadliest wars. As soon as he realised what time he is in, he immediately decided to buy two tickets to Galesburg, Illinois; one for himself and the other for his wife. Unfortunately, the currency used in that century was different. Thus, the next day he withdrew all his savings and got them converted even if it meant bearing losses. He went looking for the third level but failed to find it. It worried his wife and the psychiatrist Sam who told him that he is hallucinating in order to take refuge from reality and miseries of the modern world which is full of worry. Charley thus resorts to his stamp collection in order to distract himself when suddenly one day he finds a letter from his friend Sam who had gone missing recently. Sam wrote that he always wanted to believe in the idea of third level and now that he is there himself, he encourages Charley and Louisa to never stop looking for it.


The Third Level Summary in Hindi

Summary of  The Third Level in Hindi is given below

यह कहानी चार्ली नाम के 31 वर्षीय व्यक्ति के इर्द-गिर्द घूमती है, जिसने कुछ अजीब अनुभव किया।

एक दिन काम से मेट्रो मैं वापस आते हुए वह ग्रैंड सेंट्रल स्टेशन के तीसरे स्तर पर पहुँच गया (जो वास्तव में मौजूद नहीं है)।

वह अपने मनोचिकित्सक मित्र सैम के साथ पूरे अनुभव को याद करता है। चार्ली ने सोचा कि उसने टाइम ट्रेवल का अनुभव किया है और अठारह सौ नब्बे के दशक में कहीं पहुंच गया था, उस समय से पहले जब दुनिया ने अपने दो सबसे घातक युद्ध देखे थे पहला और दूसरा विश्व युद्ध ।

जैसे ही उन्होंने महसूस किया कि वह किस समय में हैं, उन्होंने तुरंत गैल्सबर्ग, इलिनोइस के लिए दो टिकट खरीदने का फैसला किया; एक अपने लिए और दूसरा अपनी पत्नी के लिए।

दुर्भाग्य से, उस सदी में इस्तेमाल की जाने वाली मुद्रा अलग थी। इस प्रकार, अगले दिन उन्होंने अपनी सारी बचत इकठी की और उन डॉलर के नोटों को परिवर्तित करवा दिया, भले ही इसका मतलब नुकसान उठाना ही क्यों न हो।

वह तीसरे स्तर की तलाश में गया लेकिन उसे खोजने में असफल रहा। इसने उनकी पत्नी और मनोचिकित्सक सैम को चिंतित कर दिया जिन्होंने उन्हें बताया कि वह आधुनिक दुनिया की वास्तविकता और दुखों से शरण लेने के लिए मतिभ्रम कर रहे हैं जो चिंता से भरा है।

इस प्रकार चार्ली खुद को विचलित करने के लिए अपने स्टाम्प संग्रह का सहारा लेता है जब अचानक एक दिन उसे अपने दोस्त सैम का एक पत्र मिलता है जो हाल ही में लापता हो गया था।

सैम ने अपने पत्र में लिखा है कि वह हमेशा तीसरे स्तर के विचार में विश्वास करना चाहता था और अब जब वह खुद वहां है, तो वह चार्ली और लुइसा को कभी भी इसकी तलाश करना बंद नहीं करने के लिए प्रोत्साहित करता है।


The Third Level Class 12 Video Part 2 Explanation


The Third Level Lesson Explanation

Passage: THE presidents of the New York Central and the New York, New Haven and Hartford railroads will swear on a stack of timetables that there are only two. But I say there are three, because I’ve been on the third level of the Grand Central Station. Yes, I’ve taken the obvious step: I talked to a psychiatrist friend of mine, among others. I told him about the third level at Grand Central Station, and he said it was a waking dream wish fulfillment. He said I was unhappy. That made my wife kind of mad, but he explained that he meant the modern world is full of insecurity, fear, war, worry and all the rest of it, and that I just want to escape. Well, who doesn’t? Everybody I know wants to escape, but they don’t wander down into any third level at Grand Central Station.

Word Meaning:
Stack- a pile of objects, typically one that is neatly arranged
Timetables- a schedule showing the departure and arrival times of trains, buses or aircraft
Waking dream- an involuntary dream occuring while a person is awake
Wander- walk; roam

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Explanation of the above passage: The story begins with the mention of a third level at the Grand Central Station (which only has two levels in real). The protagonist himself is aware that even the Presidents of New York Central and the New York, New Haven and Hartford railroads would express great confidence in the existence of only two levels but he himself has been to the third level. Considering the entire scenario, Charley, the protagonist had a word with his psychiatrist friend. He explained that Charley was experiencing a ˜waking dream wish fulfillment or in other words, hallucination. According to the psychiatrist, Charley was unhappy (the fact her wife did not like). Upon explaining further, it became clear that it is the burden of all the modern problems that is pushing him to experience the apparent perception of something not present. He tends to escape the reality. Charley agreed with what his psychiatrist friend had to say but he still found it a bit odd to have been to the third level of the Grand Central Station.

Passage: But that’s the reason, he said, and my friends all agreed. Everything points to it, they claimed. My stamp collecting, for example; that’s a temporary refuge from reality. Well, maybe, but my grandfather didn’t need any refuge from reality; things were pretty nice and peaceful in his day, from all I hear, and he started my collection. It’s a nice collection too, blocks of four of practically every U.S. issue, first-day covers, and so on. President Roosevelt collected stamps too, you know.

Word Meaning: Refuge- the state of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or difficulty

Explanation of the above passage: Charley begins to believe in the possibility that he has been experiencing all this to escape the harsh realities of the modern world. His friends agreed to it as well. Even his stamp collecting is a sort of asylum he resorts to in order to feel protected. On the other hand, he starts thinking otherwise. His grandfather started his stamp collection but in those days, they had not seen the consequences of war and there was peace, harmony and security. His grandfather must have not been insecure. The collection, moreover was amazing, with blocks of four of practically every U. S. issue. Even President Roosevelt collected stamps.

Passage: Anyway, here’s what happened at Grand Central. One night last summer I worked late at the office. I was in a hurry to get uptown to my apartment, so I decided to take the subway from Grand Central because it’s faster than the bus.

Explanation of the above passage: He starts explaining what exactly happened and begins with how he chose to take the Subway to his apartment instead of the usual bus after a late-night shift. He did this in order to save time.


Passage: Now, I don’t know why this should have happened to me. I’m just an ordinary guy named Charley, thirty-one years old, and I was wearing a tan gabardine suit and a straw hat with a fancy band; I passed a dozen men who looked just like me. And I wasn’t trying to escape from anything; I just wanted to get home to Louisa, my wife.

Word Meaning: Gabardine- a smooth, durable, twill-woven worsted or cotton cloth

Explanation of the above passage: He describes himself as an ordinary man of 31 dressed in a tan gabardine suit and a straw hat with a fancy band. It was so ordinary that he could see other similar men at the station. He explains how he was in his normal state of mind not wanting to escape from anywhere. All he wanted was to be with his wife Louisa at that hour. He still doesn’t understand why this happened with him.

Passage: I turned into Grand Central from Vanderbilt Avenue, and went down the steps to the first level, where you take trains like the Twentieth Century. Then I walked down another flight to the second level, where the suburban trains leave from, ducked into an arched doorway heading for the subway and got lost. That’s easy to do. I’ve been in and out of Grand Central hundreds of times, but I’m always bumping into new doorways and stairs and corridors. Once I got into a tunnel about a mile long and came out in the lobby of the Roosevelt Hotel. Another time I came up in an office building on Forty-sixth Street, three blocks away.

Word Meaning:
Suburban- residential
Ducked- lower the head or body quickly
Arched- curved
Bumping- knock or run into something

Explanation of the above passage: Charley comes to the part of the incident where he entered the Grand Central from Vanderbilt Avenue and took the stairs to the first level where one boarded trains like the Twentieth Century. Then he went down another floor to reach the second level from where the suburban trains leave. From there he entered an arched doorway and got lost. It was nothing unusual for him because even if he had come to that station a thousand times, there were occasions he bumped into new corridors and doorways. Once he entered the wrong lobby and reached Roosevelt Hotel and another time in an office building which was three blocks away.

Passage: Sometimes I think Grand Central is growing like a tree, pushing out new corridors and staircases like roots. There’s probably a long tunnel that nobody knows about feeling its way under the city right now, on its way to Times Square, and maybe another to Central Park. And maybe because for so many people through the years Grand Central has been an exit, a way of escape maybe that’s how the tunnel I got into… But I never told my psychiatrist friend about that idea.

Explanation of the above passage: He wondered that Grand Central was expanding at a very fast rate just like a tree and with its roots. He it is no big deal that they even have a secret tunnel under the city to the Times Square or maybe the Central Park. He feels it might be because Grand Central is a place of exit for innumerable people, he also managed to escape reality because of the same reason. Although he never shared it with his psychiatrist.

Passage: The corridor I was in began angling left and slanting downward and I thought that was wrong, but I kept on walking. All I could hear was the empty sound of my own footsteps and I didn’t pass a soul. Then I heard that sort of hollow roar ahead that means open space and people talking. The tunnel turned sharp left; I went down a short flight of stairs and came out on the third level at Grand Central Station. For just a moment I thought I was back on the second level, but I saw the room was smaller, there were fewer ticket windows and train gates, and the information booth in the centre was wood and old looking. And the man in the booth wore a green eyeshade and long black sleeve protectors. The lights were dim and sort of flickering. Then I saw why; they were open-flame gaslights.

Explanation of the above passage: The unusual corridor he had entered into began angling left and slanting downward which he felt odd about but nevertheless, he kept on walking. There was no one except him and the voice of his feet echoed. He finally heard the sound of people talking from a distance, then he took a left and walked down the stairs again only to reach the third level of the Grand Central. He thought he had somehow made his way back to the second level but as he noticed, the room was smaller, there were fewer ticket windows and train gates, and the information booth in the center was wood and old-looking. The man in the booth was also different and the station was dim-lit for there were open-flame gaslights.

Passage: There were brass spittoons on the floor, and across the station a glint of light caught my eye; a man was pulling a gold watch from his vest pocket. He snapped open the cover, glanced at his watch and frowned. He wore a derby hat, a black four-button suit with tiny lapels, and he had a big, black, handlebar mustache. Then I looked around and saw that everyone in the station was dressed like eighteen-ninety-something; I never saw so many beards, sideburns and fancy mustaches in my life. A woman walked in through the train gate; she wore a dress with leg-of-mutton sleeves and skirts to the top of her high-buttoned shoes. Back of her, out on the tracks, I caught a glimpse of a locomotive, a very small Currier & Ives locomotive with a funnel-shaped stack. And then I knew.

Word Meaning:
Spittoons- a metal or earthenware pot typically having a funnel-shaped top, used for spitting into
Vest- a garment worn on the upper part of the body
Snapped- break suddenly and completely
Locomotive- a powered railway vehicle used for pulling trains

Explanation of the above passage: Charley could see brass spittoons everywhere when suddenly a glimpse of light caught his eye and he saw a man pulling his gold watch from the vest. He was dressed in an old-fashioned style. Suddenly, he noticed that everyone was dressed like the nineteenth century. It was basically the time before deadly wars. So many beards and fancy mustaches all around, something that the protagonist had never seen before. He even saw a very small Currier & Ives locomotive which made him sure about which time he is in.

Passage: To make sure, I walked over to a newsboy and glanced at the stack of papers at his feet. It was The World, and The World hasnâ’t been published for years. The lead story said something about President Cleveland. I’ve found that front page since, in the Public Library files, and it was printed June 11, 1894.

Explanation of the above passage: To validate his suspicion, he went over to the newspaper boy who was selling The World, a newspaper which was discontinued years ago. There were some headlines about the then President Cleveland. The date on the front page was also June 11, 1894. He was now sure.

Passage: I turned toward the ticket windows knowing that here  on the third level at Grand Central I could buy tickets that would take Louisa and me anywhere in the United States we wanted to go. In the year 1894. And I wanted two tickets to Galesburg, Illinois. Have you ever been there? It’s a wonderful town still, with big old frame houses, huge lawns, and tremendous trees whose branches meet overhead and roof the streets. And in 1894, summer evenings were twice as long, and people sat out on their lawns, the men smoking cigars and talking quietly, the women waving palm-leaf fans, with the fire-flies all around, in a peaceful world. To be back there with the First World War still twenty years off, and World War II over forty years in the future… I wanted two tickets for that.

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Explanation of the above passage:  Immediately, he went to the ticket window to get the tickets for Galesburg, Illinois for him and his wife. It was a wonderful town with a lot of greenery. He was well aware that from here one could buy tickets that would take them anywhere in the United States. He describes how things were in 1984 before the two World Wars took place. Evenings were twice as long as they are now and men and women living in peace and serenity.

Passage: The clerk figured the fare he glanced at my fancy hatband, but he figured the fare” and I had enough for two coach tickets, one way. But when I counted out the money and looked up, the clerk was staring at me. He nodded at the bills. That ain’t money, mister,he said, and if you’re trying to skin me, you won’t get very far, and he glanced at the cash drawer beside him. Of course the money was old-style bills, half again as big as the money we use nowadays, and different-looking. I turned away and got out fast. There’s nothing nice about jail, even in 1894.

Word Meaning: Clerk- administrator

Explanation of the above passage: As the clerk calculated the fare, he looked at Charley” fancy hatband. Charley just had enough for one sided journey. Just as he took out money, the clerk informed that this is not the acceptable legal tender and by any chance if he tried to be smart, he won’t be able to get away with it. He glanced at his cash drawer and realised that currency used back then was different and almost double the size. He ran out because he didn’t want to go to jail.

Passage: And that was that. I left the same way I came, I suppose. Next day, during lunch hour, I drew three hundred dollars out of the bank, nearly all we had, and bought old-style currency (that really worried my psychiatrist friend). You can buy old money at almost any coin dealers, but you have to pay a premium. My three hundred dollars bought less than two hundred in old-style bills, but I didn’t care; eggs were thirteen cents a dozen in 1894.

Explanation of the above passage: The day ended after he came out. The next day he went to withdraw his entire savings and got them converted into old money by paying some amount of premium. It cost him much and even worried his psychiatrist friend but he still went with it. Back then, eggs cost thirteen cents a dozen.

Passage: But I’ve never again found the corridor that leads to the third level at Grand Central Station, although I’ve tried often enough. Louisa was pretty worried when I told her all this, and didn’t want me to look for the third level any more, and after a while I stopped; I went back to my stamps. But now we’re both looking, every weekend, because now we have proof that the third level is still there. My friend Sam Weiner disappeared! Nobody knew where, but I sort of suspected because Sam’s a city boy, and I used to tell him about Galesburg ” I went to school there” and he always said he liked the sound of the place. And that’s where he is, all right. In 1894.

Explanation of the above passage: But unfortunately, he could never find the way to the third-level corridor again despite hard efforts. His wife Louisa was pretty worried when she got to know about it all. After a while, he went back to finding distractions with the help of stamps. Somehow, Sam, the psychiatrist disappeared out of the blue. Charley suspected that he had gone to Galesburg. He finds himself in the time-space of 1894.

stamp collection

Passage: Because one night, fussing with my stamp collection, I found. Well, do you know what a first-day cover is? When a new stamp is issued, stamp collectors buy some and use them to mail envelopes to themselves on the very first day of sale; and the postmark proves the date. The envelope is called a first-day cover. They are never opened; you just put blank paper in the envelope.

Word Meaning: Fussing- show unnecessary or excessive concern about something

Explanation of the above passage: One night Charley came across a first-day cover. It is an envelope (with a stamp on it) that stamp collectors mail to themselves on the first day of its sale to mark the date. They are just blank inside and are not meant to be opened.

Passage: That night, among my oldest first-day covers, I found one that shouldn’t have been there. But there it was. It was there because someone had mailed it to my grandfather at his home in Galesburg; that’s what the address on the envelope said. And it had been there since July 18, 1894 ” the postmark showed that” yet I didn’t remember it at all. The stamp was a six-cent, dull brown, with a picture of President Garfield. Naturally, when the envelope came to Granddad in the mail, it went right into his collection and stayed there ” till I took it out and opened it. The paper inside wasn’t blank. It read:

Explanation of the above passage: That night he found by surprise one of his grandfathers old first day covers. Someone had mailed it to his father at his home at Galesburg, as he saw from the address on the envelope. The post mark showed that it had been there since July 18, 1894. The stamp had a picture of President Garfiled on it. It was a six cent, dull brown colour stamp. His grandfather had put put it in his stamp collection and the Charley now discovered it. The paper inside and a letter written in it. The letter read as:

Passage: 941 Willard Street Galesburg,


July 18, 1894


I got to wishing that you were right. Then I got to believing you were right. And, Charley, it’s true; I found the third level! I’ve been here two weeks, and right now, down the street at the Daly’s, someone is playing a piano, and they’re all out on the front porch singing Seeing Nelly Home.And I’m invited over for lemonade. Come on back, Charley and Louisa. Keep looking till you find the third level! It;s worth it, believe me!

Explanation of the above passage: The letter talked about how the writer wished his third level story was true until he actually started believing it to be true. He had found the third level and had been there for two weeks. He describes the place he was at that time. He asks Charley and Louis to never stop searching for the third level and come back.


third level story

Passage: The note is signed Sam.

At the stamp and coin store I go to, I found out that Sam bought eight hundred dollar’s worth of old-style currency. That ought to set him up in a nice little hay, feed and grain business; he always said that’s what he really wished he could do, and he certainly can’t go back to his old business. Not in Galesburg, Illinois, in 1894. His old business? Why, Sam was my psychiatrist.

Explanation of the above passage: The letter had been signed off as Sam. Charlie found out from the coin store that he used to visit that Sam had bought old currency worth eight hundred dollars., which was to be utilised in a hay, feed and grain business, which what he always wished to do. He could not go back to his old business certainly not in Galesburg, Illinois. The story ends at a mysterious note where Charlie is wondering that Sam is psychiatrist.


The Third Level Question Answers

Read and Find out
1. What does the third level refer to?

A. Third level refers to an additional floor at the Grand Central Station which originally only had two levels. Charley was hallucinating one night while going home when he reached the third level.

2. Would Charley ever go back to the ticket counter on the third level to buy tickets to Galesburg for himself and his wife?

A. Charley went looking back for the third level that could take him and his wife to Galesburg because he wanted to go back to his past. He wanted to go back to the world that has not seen two of its deadliest wars that changed everything.

Read with insight
1. Do you think that the third level was a medium of escape for Charley? Why?

A. Yes, the third level of the Grand Central Station was a medium of escape for Charley. Modern world offers a lot of challenges and in order to take refuge from reality, one might resort to day-dreaming or hallucination We all understand the miseries of the modern world which is full of worry and pressure, thus, in order to take the burden away from his shoulders and heap a sigh of relief, Charley resorted to escaping reality, although unintentionally.

2. What do you infer from Sam’s letter to Charley?

A. The way Charley discovered Sam’s letter was rather peculiar. It was one of those first-day covers people used to mail to themselves back in time with a blank page inside. So to begin with, the cover had a letter in it and not a blank page in it. Secondly, the letter dates back to 18 July, 1894 when Sam (the writer of the letter) didn’t exist because both Sam and Charley exist in the present times. Thus, it is sound to conclude that it was just a product of Charley’s imagination.

3. The modern world is full of insecurity, fear, war, worry and stress. What are the ways in which we attempt to overcome them?

A. One cannot count on fingers the negative aspects the modern lifestyle has to offer. There is stress, pressure, fear, insecurity and worry. In order to relieve yourself of all these miseries, one can indulge in creative activities from time to time. Making time for yourself and what you love without worrying about a productive outcome is a crucial thing many people tend to ignore in the hustle and bustle of daily lives. Secondly, one can read a good book or even meditate. Long walks in the lap of nature are not to be underestimated because nature has its own healing power. Apart from these, a short weekend getaway, movie night with friends or even alone at home can be done in order to dissociate oneself from the routine.

4. Do you see an intersection of time and space in the story?

A. Yes, there are a lot of instances that tell us about the intersection of time and space in the story. First intersection being the one between the first two levels of the Grand Central Station and its third level which is based somewhere in the 1890s whereas the former exists in the present times. Also when Charley went to buy tickets for Galesburg which existed in 1894 while he and his wife exists in the present times. Not to ignore the old-fashioned architecture of the third level in contradiction to the modern interiors of the first two levels. Lastly, the letter dated 18th July, 1982 that Charley found also throws light upon the intersection of time and space as both the sender (Sam) and the receiver (Charley) exist in the present times.

5. Apparent illogicality sometimes turns out to be a futuristic projection? Discuss.

A. While a lot of the world’s greatest inventions were made by people who were criticised for their ideas. Audiences used to mock at them for being illogical. Sighting the example of Thomas Edison who invented the light bulb, no one believed in him at first but all he had was an idea and it’s realistic projection in mind. The idea here tells us how important it is to sometimes follow one’s insight and have hope for it holds the capacity to change the world through its futuristic projections.

6. Philately helps keep the past alive. Discuss other ways in which this is done. What do you think of the human tendency to constantly move between the past, the present and the future?

A. Philately does indeed help in keeping the treasures of past alive. It gives one a chance to revisit and embrace the past of one’s existence. Some of the other ways in which it can be done is by keeping a record of all the letters, ancient manuscripts, things that are discontinued but were a significant part of the past, images, videos and written records of experiences.
Human beings are a collection of all the experiences they have been through. Their tendency to connect with the past from time to time helps them stay connected to the roots while helping them to face the present and future challenges with more strength. Connecting with the future on the other hand, is just as important to know the outcome of one’s current actions and decisions. If one doesn’t seem satisfied with the realistic interpretation of future, it can certainly help in altering current actions to direct towards a better future.


Also See :

Class 12 English Important Links

Class 12 Important Videos Links

Class 12 English Important Questions Videos
Class 12 English Flamingo and Vistas book MCQs Videos
Class 12 Flamingo Book Chapter wise Video Explanation
Class 12 Vistas Book Chapter wise Video Explanation

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