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NCERT Solutions for Class 12 English Vistas Chapter 1:The Third Level

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The Third Level is a short story by Jack Finney. The protagonist of this story is Charlie, a 31 years old man. In this story, the author pinpoints the lead character's struggle to cope with his present life's harsh realities. The unprecedented journey to the third level of the Grand Central Station eventually becomes his door to a much peaceful and cherished past. His friends think his delusional life gives rise to “waking-dream-wish fulfilment.”

Charlie is the representative of a modern man who is trapped in a world that does not appreciate the simple pleasures of life. His hobby of stamp collecting signifies his desperateness to hold on to the past. He wants to lead a life like his grandfather. Throughout the story, we are told about the various incidents that prove how Charlie craved happiness from non-material comforts. He is mentally living in the past but physically exists in the present.

In the story, the author mixes fantasy with reality. It seemed as if Charlie had time-travelled. Things were less complicated back then. People used to lead peaceful lives in simple terms. This story reaffirms that people like to live in the past because the past is much more beautiful and filled with tranquillity. The author, in his real-life, witnessed the adversities of the two World Wars. This story is one of his realizations where human beings try to escape from the terrors of wars and often find respite in past lives.


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