The Third Level

Topics: Time, Jack Finney, Time and Again Pages: 9 (3233 words) Published: January 21, 2013
The Third Level   © 1950 by Jack Finney
Summary and Analysis
Charley, a young New York commuter wandering Grand Central station, accidently finds a portal that leads to 1894. Seizing the opportunity, Charley attempts to escape the rat race by buying a one-way ticket to his childhood town of Galesburg. Not having proper currency for the period, he is forced to postpone his plans to escape to the past. Both Charley's wife and psychiatrist are worried he's losing his grip on reality. Unable to rediscover the mysterious 3rd Level of Grand Central, Charley searches for proof of his experience. His proof eventually comes from a very unexpected source. This short story is one of the best examples of a concise, entertaining story about time travel as you are ever likely to find. At only SIX pages in length, Finney manages to not only capture the reader's imagination, but too also provide a clear example of time travel that doesn't confuse the reader.

What is the explanation of The third level by Jack Finney?
Books and Literature Questions

Best Answer
Charley, the main character of the story finds a portal which leads to 1894. He tries to go to his hometown, Galesburg. But, as because he didn't have any currency of 1894, he had to postpond his plans for the future. He exchanged his 3 hundred dollar bills for less than 2 hundred dollars of that of 1894's currency. However, he never finds the third level again. When he tells this to his wife and his psychiatrist friend about this, both think that alike philately, this is also another way to take refuge from the realities of the world. However, the proof of the third level's existence comes from the most unexpected source, his psychiatrist friend - Sam. Sam sends Charlie a letter telling him about the third level. When Sam heads over to 1894 through the third level, he sends a first day cover to his Grandfather's address. His Grandfather thinking that the first day cover was sent to him by himself, adds it to his collection of stamps and never opens it thinking that there is nothing in that envelope but blank paper. In the story, you will find a line '...he started my collection'. It means that Charlie's Grandfather had a collection of stamps along with first day covers which was passed over to Charlie. When Charlie was looking at his collection, he found the letter which Sam had written to him and that letter gave solid proof of the third level's existence. You might be confused by the last part of the story, but it's really simple you see... the concept is something like something you do in the past which has direct effect on the present. Charlie received the letter because Sam wrote it to him in 1894. Charlie didn't exist in 1894 because in 1894, he wasn't born. So, Sam had to think and write a letter to Charlie's Grandfather who's hobby was to collect stamps alike Charlie and Sam knew that if somehow he could make his Grandfather into adding the letter to his collection, then it would straightly go off to Charlie as Charlie's collection was started by Charlie's grandfather. So, I think it's clear that Charlie got that letter only when Sam sent it to him. He didn't receive it until Sam actually went to 1894 and wrote a letter to Charlie's grandfather. It's like this...something someone does in the past which has a direct ( in this case immediate) effect on the present you are living in.

Charley's convinced there are three, not just two, levels at Grand Central Station. Charley's psychiatrist, and his friends, thinks his delusion is a “waking-dream wish fulfillment,” and like his stamp collection, a temporary refuge from a world full of insecurity, fear, war, and worry. Charley explains that one evening while hurrying home, he decided to take the subway from Grand Central Station, and became lost. He eventually found himself on a strange third level with spittoons on the floor, oddly dressed people, and a locomotive from 1894. Understanding he'd...
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