Revisiting ‘The Third Level’ by Jack Finney

Past is an excellent place to visit, but certainly not a good place to stay. The Third Level by Jack Finney is an engrossing story set in the 1950s. The story is studded with many undertones of irony. It takes you back in time, in a world when people hadn’t seen two of the bloodiest wars in the history of mankind. It goes without saying that people find it hard to come to terms with the ups and downs of everyday life. At times, people tend to hallucinate things. These hallucinations end up providing some transient relief from the trials and tribulations of life. Continue reading “Revisiting ‘The Third Level’ by Jack Finney”

‘The Necklace’ by Maupassant Throws Light on the Middle Class’ Aspirations

The middle class (people), for centuries, have aspired to become rich and prosperous. They want all luxuries and riches one can possibly get. ‘The Necklace’ by Guy de Maupassant throws ample light on the never-ending aspirations of the middle class. With limited resources at their disposal, the middle class in the urbanized areas have been harbouring hopes to get rich and affluent in a short span of time. No matter how much one might end up earning, he or she is always looking to aim or a better lifestyle with each passing minute.

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The Last Leaf by O Henry is an Epitome of Never-ending Hope and Optimism

I remember watching the film ‘Lootera’ starring actors Ranveer Singh and Sonakshi Sinha. The fact that the film was inspired by a short story was a good enough reason for me to go and watch the film on the big screen. The film was an Indianised adaptation of a short story written by O Henry,. It also had a host of heart-warming moments. By the time the movie ended, I was in tears, with a feeling of melancholy holding me tightly in its grip. I must confess I was deeply moved by Sonakshi Sinha’s character named Pakhi, a young Bengali girl suffering from Tuberculosis. The experience had triggered my emotions to quite an extent.

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‘The Address’ by Marga Minco teaches us not to regret the past…

A feeling of nostalgia seems to have taken over me. While flipping through the pages of my class XI English textbook named Snapshots, I came across a chapter that has inspired me quite significantly with its simplistic storytelling. A striking feature of this story is the sheer ease with which the author has portrayed a multitude of emotions, right from betrayal to melancholy, and everything in between. The story by Marga Minco, a Dutch journalist, reiterates the fact that dwelling in the past only ends up adding to the emotional turmoil a person might be going through in his/her life.

 The story further brings to light that as soon as we accept something and move on in life, the better we’re bound to feel. Accepting something not only makes us feel better emotionally, it also helps us to concentrate on the opportunities that might come our way in the not so distant future.

An Overview:

The Address by Marga Minco narrates the story of a lady (possibly the author herself), who, after losing her entire family in the Holocaust, returns to ‘the address’ in order to collect all her family’s possessions that the author’s mother had left with Mrs. Dorling, a non-Jewish lady, before leaving her homeland.

After the war was over, the author went to Mrs. Dorling’s house to collect all her past possessions, but to her surprise, Mrs. Dorling refused to recognize her. In a second attempt, the author rings the doorbell of Mrs. Dorling’s house, only to be welcomed by her daughter. She offered her a cup of tea and asked her to wait for Mrs. Dorling. As the author ran her eyes around the room, she saw the cups and other utensils her mother had left with Mrs. Dorling. She also came across the tablecloth with burn marks on it. She left the house without waiting for Mrs. Dorling to return.

Human Emotions Portrayed:

‘The Address’ by Marga Minco throws light on a multitude of human emotions. On her first visit to 46, Marconi Street (Mrs. Dorling’s house), the author was shown a cold shoulder by Mrs. Dorling. This act of Mrs. Dorling is enough to tell us that the author’s mother was betrayed by Mrs. Dorling.

The author, on the other hand, was being overpowered by emotional turmoil and sadness after Mrs. Dorling hadn’t recognized her. After being treated unpleasantly by Mrs. Dorling on her very first visit to the house, the author developed an awful impression of Mrs. Dorling. To her, she was a thief who had refused to recognize her as she didn’t want to return the possessions that the author’s mother had left behind.

On her second visit, the author was welcomed by Mrs. Dorling’s daughter, who, unlike her mother, asked the author to come in and even offered her a cup of tea. The author, while running her eyes around the house, saw a few things her mother had left with Mrs. Dorling. She also observed that Mrs. Dorling’s daughter loves those possessions quite dearly and is proud of possessing them. In the end, the author decided against taking her possessions along as she felt that all these possessions would remind her of her family members who had died during the course of the war.

Leaving Everything Behind

The story clearly brings to light the fact that holding onto the past can be an extremely painful exercise. It goes without saying that forgetting the moments and the experiences that torment you can be a really daunting task, but once you accept your past wholeheartedly, you tend to get a big overweight monkey off your back. The author, despite being attached to memories of her past, had the courage to leave them behind in order to make a fresh beginning.

‘The Address’ by Marga Minco is indeed an inspiring story which sheds an adequate amount of light on the importance of letting things go. It further reiterates that both past and future are illusions, and all we have with us is the present.