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Chapter 1: Third Level
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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NCERT Solutions Class 12 English Chapter 1 Third Level
1. Do you think that the third level was a medium of escape for Charley? Why?
Yes, I think that the third level was a medium of escape for Charley. The third level is an escape for Charley from the modern setting of worry and insecurity.
It is an escape from the unhappy contemporary world that is full of insecurity, fear, war, and worry. He had always desired to live his life peacefully as he did in Galesburg.
Charlie was so upset and frustrated with modern life and the way of living that he wanted to move back into the past. Thus, in his mind, he has forever wanted to go back in time, so he found the third level as a realization of his dream.
2. What do you infer from Sam’s letter to Charley?
Sam’s letter is a consequence of Charley’s thoughts. Sam’s letter was full of mystery when Charley came across it. This can be understood from the truth that the letter was enclosed in the oldest first-day cover and directed to his grandfather.
Usually, the first-day covers have blank papers in them, but this one included a letter. This is made so that the envelope is stamped along with the date and it remains as a remembrance always.
So these kinds of envelopes carry just blank letters and should not be opened. In this letter, Sam had notified Charley that he was living on the third level.
He had also stated that Charley and his wife keep waiting for the third level. This confirms that Sam’s letter is an outcome of Charley’s complete 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?
The contemporary world is full of illusion, insecurity, war, fear, worry, tension, and stress. This is because the world is full of competition and people need to pull each other downward.
People can overcome this unrealness, anxieties, and insecurities bred by our certain existence in the advanced world by getting involved in useful and practical activities.
To overcome such uncertainties, firstly we must believe that both good and bad come our way. Hence, we the people want to create equilibrium among professional, creative, personal, and economic provinces of life.
People need to spend a good time with friends and family, be productive in art, poetry, prose, or in enhancing their hobbies.
4. Do you see an intersection of time and space in the story?
Yes, some situations in the story show an interaction of time and space. Firstly, the first two levels of Grand Central Station were found in the present time while the third level survived.
Charley tries to buy for Galesburg but finds that he has current-day currency. The stairs that guide Charley to the third level are also seen to be the pattern of the 19th century.
Charley opens up the first-day cover from his grandfather’s collection of stamps and assumes it to be Sam’s letter which is supposed to be blank.
In certain situations, Charley is brought to a parallel world of thought where everything results according to his desires. This instance makes him completely fulfilled. However, when he experiences the modern world, he becomes tangled.
NCERT Class 12 English Textbook Chapter 1 The Third Level With Answer PDF Free Download