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The Third Level Summary (CBSE Class 12) By Walter Braden “Jack” Finney

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The Third Level Summary CBSE Class 12
NameThe Third Level
BoardCBSE Board
AuthorWalter Braden “Jack” Finney


The story revolves around Charlie, a 31-year-old man. In addition, this is a psychological tale that connects to the subway that runs from New York City’s Grand Central Station to Galesburg. This subway also serves as a link between the narrator’s stark reality and his or her imagination.

The Third Level SummaryShort

Stanza 1: The narrator begins by introducing the setting of the story, which is Grand Central Station in New York City. He describes the hustle and bustle of the commuters rushing to catch their trains. He talks about how he often visits the station to relieve himself from the pressures of his mundane life.

Stanza 2: The narrator talks about how he found himself on the third level of the station one day while trying to find a bathroom. He describes the third level as an old-fashioned street that resembled New York City in the year 1894. He finds himself immersed in the atmosphere of the past and is captivated by it.

Stanza 3: The narrator describes how he meets a man named Charley who is dressed in the clothing of the 1890s. Charley tells the narrator that he has been living on the third level for the past two months and that he does not wish to return to the present. The narrator is intrigued by Charley’s story and wonders if he too should stay on the third level.

Stanza 4: The narrator continues to explore the third level and is surprised to find a bank that he knows has not existed for many years. He withdraws some money from the bank and is pleased to find that the currency is still valid. He is convinced that he has somehow traveled back in time.

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Stanza 5: The narrator reflects on his experience on the third level and wonders if he should tell anyone about it. He ultimately decides to keep it a secret and to visit the third level whenever he needs to escape from reality.

The Third Level SummaryLong

A short narrative titled The Third Level demonstrates how trauma can develop internally and have an impact on our mental health. Thirty-one-year-old Charley, the narrator, makes a living by working in an office, just like the majority of individuals. He serves as the story’s narrator, and he begins by informing us that Grand Central Station in New York has a third floor. However, according to his doctor, it fulfilled waking-dream wishes. The reason the psychiatrist made this claim is that the narrator was not content with his life and was trying to escape his problems by inventing a third level.

On one occasion, Charley had to remain late since he was behind on his work. He wanted to get home as soon as possible. He consequently made the decision to ride the metro rather than the bus. At Grand Central Station, which is only meant to have two levels, he entered the third level. The third level seemed strange to him because of how outdated the infrastructure and people appeared to be. The year 1894 was ultimately revealed to him by a newspaper. Before the First and Second World Wars, he recalled this time period. He went to the ticket desk to purchase two tickets to Galesburg, Illinois, but the check in counter clerk accused him of paying with false money and threatened to report him to the police. The narrator left the station in the same direction that he had entered it.

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The following day, Charley took almost all of his $300 in cash out and bought old-style currency in the same amount. He desired to go back to Galesburg, Illinois, in 1894 and start a family with his wife Louisa, but he was never able to locate the third level once more. When his wife found out about everything, she became quite concerned and pleaded with him not to search for the third level once more. The narrator went back to his interest in stamp collecting. He realized that the third level did exist at that point. Sam, a close friend to whom he had frequently related tales about Galesburg, had vanished. It was presumed by the narrator that Sam may have visited Galesburg in 1984.

A note was discovered among one of Charley’s oldest first-day covers one evening as he was sorting through his stamp collection. It was dated July 18, 1894, and contained his grandfather’s residence in Galesburg, Illinois. But when he opened the envelope, he saw that Sam had written him a letter in which he described the events of 1894 and expressed his enjoyment of them. Sam told the narrator that it was worthwhile to continue looking for the third level. When the narrator returned to the stamp and coin shop, he discovered that Sam had purchased old-style cash valued at $800. He reasoned that Sam could have been able to live happily in 1894 with this amount of money if he had invested in the food and grain industry because he would not have been able to continue working as a psychiatrist.

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  1. The narrator: He is the protagonist of the story who finds himself on the third level of Grand Central Station. He is a regular visitor to the station and uses it as a way to escape from his mundane life.
  2. Charley: He is a man who has been living on the third level for the past two months. He is dressed in the clothing of the 1890s and tells the narrator that he does not wish to return to the present. He is a mysterious character who adds to the intrigue of the story.

About The Author

American writer Walter Braden “Jack” Finney wrote the chapter “Third Level” for the class 12 English textbook. Writer  was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, America, on October 2, 1911. His biggest works include “The Body Snatchers” & “Time and Again,” and he is widely known for his science fiction and thriller pieces.


The conclusion of “The Third Level” is both captivating and thought-provoking. The narrator ultimately decides to keep his experience on the third level a secret and to visit it whenever he needs to escape from reality. This decision reflects the human desire to escape from the pressures of life, but it also acknowledges the importance of facing reality.

The story leaves the reader with a sense of wonder and intrigue, wondering if the third level is a real place or a figment of the narrator’s imagination. This ambiguity adds to the allure of the story and encourages the reader to reflect on their own desires for escapism.

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