The Third Level Jack Finney Class 12 English Exam Questions

Exam Questions Class 12

Please refer to the below The Third Level important questions for Class 12 English. These questions and answers have been prepared as per the latest NCERT Book for Class 12 English. Students should go through chapter wise Class 12 English Important Questions designed as per the latest examination pattern issued by CBSE. 

Chapter Summary of The Third Level Jack Finney

  • Charley a 31 year old, one day comes back late after work and enters Grand Central Station to go back home.
  • He loses his way and enters a place which he thinks is the Third Level of the station.
  • Nothing there looks like from today’s time and age. He realises he has gone back in time to 1894.
  • Charley finds that he does not have the appropriate currency to buy the tickets.
  • His wife and psychiatrist friend get worried when they hear Charley’s account.
  • According to them it is Charley’s figment of imagination. Also this is an indication of the stress that is a major factor in today’s life.
  • His friend Sam disappears and he receives an envelope from him which is from 1894 period, there he asks Charley not to abandon his search for the Third Level as it is worth the effort.
  • The readers are the left wondering as to what the Third Level really is. The author is a Science fiction writer and in this story tries to bring a confluence of the past, present and the future. There are three things to human life dreams, desires and reality and we find ourselves vacillating between them.

Question. What do you infer from Sam’s letter to Charley?
Answer. The way Charley came across Sam’s letter was surrounded in mystery. Among his oldest first- covers, he found an envelope. The envelope containing the letter bore the address of his grandfather. It was written on July 18, 1894. The postmark showed the Picture of President Garfield Generally the first day covers have blank papers in them, but this one contained a letter. The letter was addressed to Charley. In the letter Sam had informed Charley that he was living on the third level. He had also told Charley and his wife to keep looking for the third level. Clearly, the letter product of Charley’s imagination.

Question. If the third level was just a product of Charley’s imagination, whey wasn’t it rosier than reality ?
Answer. Ordinarily imagination adds colour to reality and makes it look larger than life. However, the nonexistent third level was a lacklustre place because Charley’s imagination took him to the past. Somewhere at the back of his mind there was a yearning for the fabulous ordinariness of the bygone days. He was looking for tranquility and not any razzle-dazzle of the modern world. Hence it lacked rosiness.

Question. Do you think that the third level was a medium of escape for Charley? Why?
Answer. Yes, I think that the third level was a medium of escape for Charley. Life in modern world is full insecurity, fear, war, worries and stress. Man has to confront them all the times. The harsh realities of life make living quite unpleasant and even unbearable. So he wants to escape into a wishful world. Charley talks to his psychiatrist friend about the third level at the Grand Central Station. His friend calls it “a walking-dream wish fulfillment”. Charley possesses an escapist tendency. Even his stamp collecting is a ‘temporary refuge from reality’.

Question. How did Charley confirm the specific date of the era that he had passed into ?
Answer. On reaching the third level, Charley was quite puzzled to see a strange looking platform and an outdated locomotive. Even the people seemed strange with their old-fashioned hair-styles, clothes and shoes. To do a reality check, he looked at the newspapers on sale at a kiosk and found a copy of newspaper ‘The world’ carrying a lead story on president Cleveland. Clearly, he had got ‘transported’ to late 19th century. Later on, he confirmed from the Public Library files that the newspaper was dated 11th June, 1894.

Question. Do you see an intersection of time and space in the story?
Answer. Yes, there are certain instances in the story that show an intersection of time and space. Firstly the first two levels of Grand Central Station were located in the present time while the third level existed in the 1890s. Secondly, Charley and his wife, Louisa, live in the present time yet he rushes to get old currency to buy two tickets to go to the Galesburg of 1894. Further, the old architecture of the platform at the third level is different from the modern platforms of the first two levels. Besides the archaic manner of dressing by the people, and the newspaper, The World, dated June 11, 1984 also overlaps with Charley’s real time world and existence. Lastly, the letter that was mailed to Charley’s grandfather on 18th July, 1894 highlights the intersection of time and space as the sender (Charley’s friend Sam) and receiver (Charley himself) belong to the present time.

Question. What does the third level refer to?
Answer. The third level refers to the subway of the Grand Central station that takes passengers to Galesburg, Illinois. The third level on the Station was a medium of escape for Charley, the narrator from harsh realities of modern life. It provided him a base where he could interweave fantasy and reality.

Question. Apparent illogicality sometimes turns out to be a futuristic projection? Discuss.
Answer. It is true that apparent illogicality sometimes turns out to be a futuristic projection. Before the Wright Brothers invented the first aeroplane, nobody could have dared to believe that man could fly. Before Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, it would have been impossible to believe in long distance talks happening in the real-time interface. Moreover, there are examples of inventions, like that of inventing a modern-day sewing machine with a needle that has hole on its wrong end which were conceived in dreams but now are part of our everyday reality. All these emphasises that fantacies of one point of time that seem inlogical may turn out to be revolutionary things that change the future of the mankind. Similarly, it would not be far : fetched to think about railway stations fitted with time-machine devices that would make travel
from on era to another just a matter of time.

Question. Do you see an intersection of time and space in the story “The Third Level” ?
Answer. A free play between fantasy and reality in “The Third Level” makes the story transcend all barriers of time and space. Thus Charley strays into 1894 at the third level and then gets back to the 20th century. Sam transports himself to Galesburg, Illinois in 1894 and yet his communications with Charley in the 20th century brings about a convincing intersection of time and space.

Question. How did the psychiatrist explain Charley’s flight to the non-existent ‘third level’ ?
Answer. The psychiatrist explained that Charley couldn’t obviously have reached the third level as it didn’t exist at all. He was of the view that fear, insecurity, war, worry and the like, made his tension ridden mind work out an escape route for himself. The third level was a creation of his own imagination and ‘a waking dream wish fulfilment’ i.e. Charley’s experience of the third level was a rationalization of his dreams and unfulfilled wishes of the subconscious mind. The flight never took place as the whole episode was a figment of his imagination.

Question. ‘Yes, I’ve taken the obvious step.’ Why does Charley term meeting the psychiatrist as ‘an obvious step’ ?
Answer. The moment Charley talked about his coming across the non-existent third level, everybody got alarmed and felt that he needed to see a psychiatrist. Under the circumstances, it was plain and clear that he should seek an expert’s opinion to rule out any psychiatric problem. Hence he terms it as ‘an obvious step.’

Question. Why did the psychiatrist’s analysis make Louisa lose her temper and how did the psychiatrist appease her ?
Answer. Louisa and Charley were leading a happy married life. So, the wife couldn’t tolerate the psychiatrist’s observation about Charley being an unhappy man. However, her anger subsided when he moved on to say that he was referring to modern man’s unhappiness in general.

Question. Stamp-collecting too was described as a medium of escape by the psychiatrist and Charley’s friends. Why did Charley’s grandfather, who lived in the good old days, when life was tension free, pursue this hobby ?
Answer. Life in the times of Charley’s grandfather was tension-free. So he didn’t need to pursue philately as a ‘temporary refuge from reality’. He rather took up this hobby to make his leisure hours a more productive and a fulfilling experience.

Question. Why does Charley say, ‘he (Sam) certainly can’t go back to his old business’ ?
Answer. Charley knew that though it was less profitable, the quiet business of hay, feed and grain would give Sam a greater sense of satisfaction. Moreover, being a psychiatrist he had no scope of reverting to his own profession as in 1894 a psychiatrist would be absolutely redundant. By 1894 the science of pshychiatry was in it infancy and psychiatrists were relatively unknown.

Question. Why could Charley not reach the third level again ?
Answer. Charley could not reach the third level of Grand Central STation because despite his best efforts he failed to locate the tunnel that had taken him to this level earlier. A more rational explanation is that he could never experience the same level of consciousness which had transported him earlier to the third level of Grand Central.

Question. “The modern world is full of insecurity, fear, war, worry and stress”. What are the ways in which we at temp to overcome them ? 
Answer. Insecurity of war, worry, fear and stress rob man of his peace of mind. Thus our subconscious mind constantly forces the invasion of tension and anxiety. Stripped of all thrill and excitement, modern man rather than living life in the real sense of the world merely goes through the process of existing. In order to get out of this quagmire, he turns to religion, world of fiction, fantasy, hobbies, sports, music and creativity. These things divert man’s attention from harsh realities. Thus man experiences some sort of a relief from his worries. The degree of involvement in these activities ascertains the level of calmness he attains. The tranquility that he experiences for himself saves him from the psychiatric problems caused by stress, strain and apprehension.

Question. Would Charley ever go back to the ticket-counter on the third level to buy tickets to Galesburg himself and his wife?
Answer. No, Charley would never go back to the ticket-counter on the third level to buy tickets to Galesburg for himself and his wife because third level was his imagination.

Question. What was Charley’s state of mind as he came back from the office ? Why did he decide to take the subway from the Grand Central Station ?
Answer. Having worked late at the office, Charley was fatigued and bored. He wished to return to his loving wife, Louisa and to the comfort of his home, as fast as possible. The bus would have taken longer to cover the distance, so he decided to take the subway.

Question. Philately helps keep the past alive. Discuss other ways in which this is done. What do you think the human tendency to constantly move between the past, the present and the future?
Answer. Besides philately, there are numerous other ways to help keep the past alive. Collecting historical artefacts, paintings and inscriptions in a museum, collecting and reading books (including autobiographies, bio-sketches, letters and diary entries) written in different eras, collecting an viewing documentaries and other videos are all a few ways of revisiting history. Besides, we can keep our culture and traditions alive when we follow the rituals in ceremonies, treasure memory the form of videos, photographs and audio collections. Also, reviving old monuments, building and other artefacts may prove a huge learning opportunity to those visiting such places, and promote tourism at the same time. The capacity to oscillate between the past, present and future is a great intellectual gift. This human tendency enables him to plan for the future in the present by reaping benefits from the past. Consider a very simple example of adopting a study technique for board exams. Considering past result (of class test or half yearly exams) a student makes a strategy plan to address the areas more and score better in the future. Thus, such a tendency helps in ensuring acceptance to the impact of important decisions taken at any point of time and learning from them.

Question. How did Charley reach the third level ?
Answer. In his hurry to take a train back home, Charlie came to Grand Central from Vanderbilt Avenue and took two flights of stairs to reach the second level from where his train was to leave. He got lost while ducking into an arched doorway which led to the subway and he found himself into a tunnel. The tunnel took him to another flight of stairs at the end of which he found himself on the third level at Grand Central Station.

Question. Why did Louisa stop Charley from looking for the third level ?
Answer. A loving and caring wife as Louisa was, she got alarmed at Charley’s claim of having been to the third level. His exchanging the new currency with the old one was a cause of concern of her. Like the psychiatrist, Louisa also thought the third level to be a product of Charley’s imagination, so she asked him to stop looking for it.

Question. What does ‘the third level’ symbolize ?
Answer. ‘Third Level’ symbolizes man’s yearning to delve deeper into the world of imagination as an escape from the world of harsh realities. It stands for his quest for ‘the fabulous ordinariness of a bygone age’ that was free from the modern razzle-dazzle, sophistication and material comforts but exuded peace and tranquility.

Question. What does Grand Central Station symbolize ?
Answer. The Grand Central Station symbolizes the labyrinth that this world is, with its intricate and tangled pathways. The network of passages is so complicated that rather than reaching the destination, one keeps on moving up and down all one’s life to look for entries and exits.

Question. ‘Now I don’t know why this should have happened to me’. Charley wondered why out of the whole tension-ridden world, he alone took a flight to the ‘third level’. Why do you think, ithappened to him ? 
Answer. The level of sensitivity and power of imagination vary from person to person. Caught in the web of monotony, dull routine and fast life, Charley finds it difficult to cope with such a life. So on the wings of imagination, he takes a flight to the non-existent world.

Question. Do you think that the third level was a medium of escape for Charley ? Why ? 
Answer. War, worry, insecurity and fear keep on gnawing at the modern man’s mind all the time. This helplessness and frustration leaves man baffled and at a loss to know how to face life. It is then, that he looks for ‘a temporary refuge from reality’. Pursuit of hobbies like stamp-collecting diverts his attention temporarily and gives him some comfort. The fast pace of life, overwork and subconscious apprehensions had made Charley much too uneasy and restless. He yearned for peace, tranquility and serenity. Like many others, he too turned to philately but probably, the degree of relief that this hobby provided, was not sufficient to calm him down emotionally. Hence the redoubled efforts of his subconscious mind for escape resulted in his flight to the third level – a level of existence which he associated with tranquility. His psychiatrist friend, Sam, also diagnosed Charley’s claim to have visited the third level, as ‘a waking-dream wish fulfilment’. Hence, the third level was undoubtedly, a medium of escape for Charley.

Question. What does Charley compare Grand Central Station to ? Why ?
Answer. Charley compares Grand Central Station to a tree. Just like a tree grows putting forth new leaves and branches and spreading its roots, Grand Central Station seemed to him to be pushing out new corridors and staircases. The comparison of the numerous doorways, stairs and corridors of the station to the roots of tree is odd yet quite graphic and convincing.

Question. Why did Charley not tell his psychiatrist friend about what he thought of Grand Central Station? Or ‘But I never told my psychiatrist friend about that idea’. What did Charley not tell his psychiatrist? Why?
Answer. Charley did not tell his psychiatrist friend about his notion that a long unknown tunnel ran underground the city and connected important places like Times Square and Central Park and that his finding himself into a tunnel like that at the second level of Grand Central was a way of escape. Charley did not share this idea with the psychiatrist because he did not want the latter to think of him as crazy and make fun of him as an escapist.

Question. Give a description of the ‘third level’ ?
Answer. The general layout of the third level was more or less similar to that of the second level. But it had comparatively smaller rooms, fewer ticket windows and train gates. The information both in the centre was wooden and it bore an old look. One could spot a small Currier & Ives locomotive with a funnel-shaped stack on this level. The place with brass spittoons did not look very bright in the open-flame gaslights. Everyone in the station was dressed like eighteen – ninety-something’.

Question. What sort of dresses and appearances did Charley come across on the third level ?
Answer. Charley came across men and women wearing 19th century dresses. Men supported fancy mustaches, beards and sideburns. Tiny lapels, four-button suits, derby hats and pocket gold watches seemed to be in fashion. Women went about wearing fancy cut sleeves, long skirts with high-buttoned shoes. This, at the third level, Charley was puzzled to see people in old fashioned clothes and hair-styles.

Question. Why did Charley run back from the third level ?
Answer. When Charley produced the modern currency to pay for the two tickets to Galesburg the ticket clerk accused him of trying to cheat and threatened to hand him over to the police. This made Charley sense trouble and he turned away and got out of the third level fast, lest he was arrested and jailed.

Question. ‘The modern world is full of insecurity, fear, war, worry and stress.’ What are the ways in which we attempt to overcome them?
Answer. We can overcome the anxieties and insecurities bred by our inevitable existence in the modern world by getting involved in some practical and beneficial activities. Cultivating hobbies, spentime with family and friends, going on trips and excursions, pursuing meditation and exercises help us live a balanced and healthy life. Reading good books is equivalent to having good friends with great insight. They not only enrich us with the vast store of knowledge but also help us to learn from other’s experience and stay rooted to some basic qualities of humanity. Joining hobby classes gym, attending social events like birthdays and weddings, going for outdoor games, interacting meaningfully through social-networking sites and writing diaries etc can also help us relieve our worries and stay focussed and disciplined in life. Simple activities like listening to music, playing with pets, an occasional dinner out, watching cinema or plays or going to places like parks etc can go a long way in helping us get rid of stress, boredom and insecurities.

Question. ‘My three hundred dollars brought less than two hundred in old-style bills, but I didn’t care ‘Bring out the significance of these lines.
Answer. Although Charley got less than two hundred old-style bills for three hundred dollars, he did not mind it because the old-style money could buy him railway tickets to Galesburg of 1894 where he could lead a life of peace and transquility, free from his modern day worries and tensions. He also consoled himself for having got less money by the fact that life in 1894 Galesburg was quite cheaper as compared to the modern life. Therefore, less money actually meant more.

Question. What do you understand by a first-day cover ?
Answer. The value of a newly issued stamp increases if it has the postmark of the date of issue on it. Therefore the stamp collectors buy new stamps on the very first day of its sale and paste them on self-addressed envelopes and post them. These envelopes are called the first-day covers. With just a blank paper enclosed inside, they are never opened.

Question. Why was Sam attracted towards Galesburg ?
Answer. Sam, who was a typical city boy, was fascinated by Charley’s description of Galesburg, Illinois, as a wonderful town with big old frame houses, huge lawns and tremendous trees lining the streets. He was so bogged down by the tension and burden of modern life that he thought of escaping to the ‘peaceful world’ of Galesburg of 1894 with long summer evenings and an easy going, peaceful life. 

Question. How did Charley come to know that Sam had found the third level ?
Answer. Charley came across a first day cover that he had never seen in his collection earlier. It has his grandfather’s Galesburg address and it contained a note written by Sam mentioning that he had found the third level and was in Galesburg since two weeks. This was a solid proof that Sam had found the third level.

Question. How did Sam like life in Galesburg ?
Answer. Sam’s letter to Charley from Galesburg showed that he was quite happy there. He had taken a fancy to the quiet, simple and peaceful life there, away from the hurry and worry of New York. He liked the way people enjoyed music, dance and socialising. It was a perfect place for his hay, feed and grain business. He even invites Charley and Louisa to come over to Galesburg through the ‘third level’.

Question. Why did Sam buy eight hundred dollars of old-style currency ? What did he think of thisbargain? 
Answer. Sam must have spent all the earnings of his lifetime to buy eight hundred dollars of old-style currency. What apparently seemed to be a foolish bargain was considered to be very profitable by him as he had sold his materialistic earnings to buy fulfilment of his soul. Moreover, eight hundred dollars was enough to start hay, feed and grain business in Galesburg.

Extract Based Question

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 fulfilment. He said I was unhappy.

Question. What does the Third level signify ?   
(a) a human tendency to escape from the harsh realities of the present to past happy times
(b) A third way on Grand Central station
(c) A third gate on Grand Central Station
(d) None



Question. Who is the author of The Third Level?    
(a) George Orwell
(b) Agatha Christie
(c) James Joyce
(d) Jack Finney



Question. Why was the narrator seeing this’ Third Level’ ?   
(a) as a wish to visit Galesburg
(b) wanted to meet his friends
(c) wanted to take a break from office
(d) As a result of stress and anxiety in his mind



Question. Who is ‘I’ in the above lines ?   
(a) Sam
(b) Charley
(c) Louisa
(d) Jack Finney



The Third Level important questions