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Class XII, Vistas - The Third Level by Jack Finney - NCERT Solutions of CBSE English Supplementary Reader

The Third Level by Jack Finney

CBSE Class 12, Vistas - NCERT English Supplementary Reader

(NCERT Solutions and CBSE Guide for Class XII English Core Course)

Reading With Insight Exercise Questions (Page - 7)
Question 1: Do you think that the third level was a medium of escape for Charley? Why?
Solution 1: Yes, the third level was a medium of escape for Charley. Life in the modern world is full of insecurity, fear, war, worries and stress. A person has to struggle with these realities for his existence. The harsh realities of life make living quite unpleasant, tough and sometimes unbearable. A person resorts to escapism when he finds it difficult to confront with these difficulties in life.
Charley possesses an escapist tendency. It is certainly a medium of escape for him. Actually there was no ‘third level’ at all. It was merely a psychological shift in time and space of Charley's own mind where he combines fantasy with reality. Charley finds comfort and peace in a world of fancy and romance. He finds himself into the world of 1894. It was a world of romance with wooden gates, derby hats, beards, and sideburns. Everything was very nice and peaceful where he did not require any refuge from reality.
Question 2: What do you infer from Sam's letter to Charley?
Solution 2: In his letter Sam had written that he had found the Third Level, two weeks ago. According to the letter he was very happy to be in a very peaceful and hospitable town.
But the way Charley comes across Sam's letter is quite mysterious. The various circumstances in which Charley found the letter and also described it indicate that the letter is another piece of Charley's escapist fantasies. In other words, it is another "walking-dream wish fulfillment" of Charley.
Question 3: "The modern world is full of insecurity, fear, war, worry, and stress." What are the ways in which we attempt to overcome them?
Solution 3: Unlike the good old days, the modern world is full of insecurity, fear, war, worry, and stress. The constant struggling with these harsh realities for our existence makes our lives unpleasant and bitter. We attempt to overcome them through wishful thinking and escape into the world of fantasy. One takes refuge into the unreal world of imagination forgetting harsh realities. This could be a psychological shift in time and space for one’s mind. Some people who are of creative minds find some useful occupation to overcome negative thoughts. Some keep themselves busy in social service whereas some writes poems, stories, and plays to find an emotional refuge or solace in an imaginary world.
Charley in the lesson “The Third Level” too indulges in fantasies in order to overcome the stress and strain of our modern world. Philately keeps the past alive for him.
Question 4: Do you see an intersection of time and space in the story?
Solution 4: Yes, there is an intersection of time and space in the story The Third Level.
In the story the narrator moves from present to past. Along with time there is a shift of space and place too. From his real presence in New York, he imagines himself in Galesburg, Illinois. This shift of time and space is totally psychological or imaginary. In the story 'The Third Level', the narrator (Charley) belongs to the present time but describes an experience of the last century on his imaginary ‘Third Level’. Later he opens an envelope which somebody mailed to his grandfather at his home in Galesburg. The postmark shows that it has been there among the first-day covers since July 18, 1894. Surprisingly it has a note written by Sam dated July 18, 1894 rand addressed to the narrator Charley. All these seem to be highly illogical and confusing. This is because the writer has made intersection of different times and spaces in his story. 
Question 5: Apparent illogicality sometimes turns out to be a futuristic projection. Discuss.
Solution 5: Dreams are apparently illogical. But in the background of every invention, there was an imagination or dream by somebody at some point of time in the past. Once, Oliver would have dreamt of flying in the air like a bird, and somebody else of having equipment for wireless video communications in every pocket which, although seemed to be irrational then, became realities in future. Our unconscious mind has a remarkable capacity to manipulate things. Several times, our seemingly illogical behaviours turn out to be a futuristic projection. Man's unconscious mind may interpret such events in whatever ways but, there is no dearth of examples of such acts, like -
  1. In a fiction ‘1984’, George Orwell could imagine about the radical transformations that will take place in the communist world. Decades ago, he drew a picture of diminishing of the then Soviet Union into many states. Soviet Union does not exist anymore as it disintegrated into many states. An apparently illogical description by George Orwell turned out to be a futuristic projection.
  2. Many believe that an astrologer named Michel de Nostradamus could predict the future. His predictions of the future have mystified scholars for over 400 years. Nostradamus made over 1000 predictions and historians say that over half of them, have already come true. His predictions at the time when he did must have seemed to be illogical although kept on proving true even after centuries.    
Question 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?
Solution 6: Philately is one of the oldest but effective ways to keep the past alive. The study of stamps is known as philately. Stamps reflect a country's history, culture, and civilization. Philately gives us an idea as well as reminds us of past events, prominent personalities, historical monuments, geography, flora, and fauna of present and past. Some other ways in which this is done are through the study of coins (numismatics), archaeology, the study of fossils (paleontology) etc.
Yes, it is a human tendency to move constantly between the past, present and the future. We all are always in the present, since there is nowhere else to be, but that doesn't require our minds and thinking to be also in the present. It is queer that we often repent over the Past of which we don’t have control anymore, worry for the Future just in anticipation, but strangely, care least about the Present where we actually live in. The result frequently is guilt about our imperfect Past, anxiety for a non-existent Future, and impatience with the Present.

So, I think, the correct way would be not to think much for the past and future rather, live in the present and enjoy the life.  

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