A DISSECTION OF "ROSEBUD"
Entertainment

A DISSECTION OF "ROSEBUD"

A Deeper Look At The Subtleties Of Citizen Kane

10
Donald Tong at Pexels.com

For decades since its 1941 release, "Citizen Kane" has been hailed as one of the greatest cinematic achievements of the American film industry, and for a good reason. Orson Welles’s masterful direction, the creative use of innovative techniques like Deep Focus and many others, as well as outstanding performances from everyone involved, helped to elevate the already excellent film to a piece of modern art. When discussing individual scenes from the film, it seems as if most people have one particular moment which intrigues them in some way, and this is no different for me. My favorite scene is none other than the famous “Window Scene,” in which a young Charles Kane celebrates his childhood innocence by frolicking outside on a snowy day, blissfully unaware of the forces seemingly conspiring against his happiness. What elements make this scene so memorable, and why is it so important to the rest of the film? Allow me to explain.

Whenever I re-watch this scene, the first thing that strikes me is its use of the special effect known as, “Deep Focus.” This camera technique involves adjusting the focus so that objects in the background of the shot appear as bright as objects in the foreground. To me, this effect often creates a feeling of equal importance throughout the shot. Events taking place within the foreground, such as Kane’s parents discussing his education away from home with banker Walter Thatcher, move the plot along, but is no more significant or more of a focal point than Kane playing outside in the snow. This effect provides us with two perspectives and conflicting moods in the same shot. The effect thus gives us multiple layers of uncertainty and carefree attitudes and balances the seemingly cold and unflinching attitude held by Kane’s mother at the thought of sending her son away with Kane’s last moments of innocence and childhood.

Besides being filled with emotion and depth, this scene also works brilliantly in a practical sense. So often in modern films, it seems that exposition and plot details are thrust upon the audience quickly to leave time for more “interesting” events, without letting the plot flow naturally. This scene is entirely different. Context is given for the situation and for Kane’s education away from home. This is because gold has been found on the land owned by Charles’s mother, leaving the family unexpectedly wealthy. Information is dispensed at a steady and constant pace, and the audience is given time to connect the dots and speculate on what effect the events within this flashback have had on Kane’s life and how current events within the story have been affected. Character motivations are made clear, and by the end of the scene, we know how each character feels about the situation.

Kane’s mother is reluctant to send her son away, but more than willing to do so if it means he will have access to a better life and education, as well as be protected from his abusive father. Kane’s father is mainly concerned that he receives what he sees as his share of the profits from the gold, though he does express some concern for his son, stating that this decision is probably for the best. Young Charles is unaware of the situation and understands little, except the fact that his parents have arranged for him to be taken away from the only home he’s ever known. Everyone’s motivations and feelings are made clear straightforwardly and organically.

The final reason I adore this scene is because of its importance to the plot, as a sort of “keystone” which supports the entire story. The plot of "Citizen Kane" revolves around the life of recently deceased media mogul Charles Kane, and an investigation into his last word, “Rosebud.” Protagonist and reporter Jerry Thompson embarks on a quest to find the meaning of the iconic figure’s dying words, and gradually pieces together the complete story of Kane’s past through interviews with those close to the man. Though Thompson himself never discovers the meaning of the word through his investigations, the audience is shown that Rosebud is none other than the name of the manufacturer of Kane’s childhood sled. This is the last relic of his stolen youth and childhood, which is a cruel twist of fate, is thought to be junk by Kane’s house staff and burned in the furnace.

The scene is a catalyst for all future events in Kane’s life, and the root cause of all present situations occurring within the film. It completes the picture of mysterious Charles Kane, a man who stood at the top of the world, constantly seeking greater heights, all to fill the void left by his lost childhood, home, and family. It is for all these reasons that I truly believe this scene is one of the most groundbreaking and meaningful in all of cinema, and only serves to amplify my appreciation for this masterful film even further.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Politics and Activism

I Asked 22 People 4 Questions About George Floyd, And It's Clear Black Lives NEED To Matter More

Change can't happen tomorrow, because we're already 100 years behind today.

Taylar Banks

May 25, 2020: the day that will forever be remembered as the day George Floyd lost his life at the hands of cops.

The day that systematic racism again reared its head at full force in 2020.

Keep Reading... Show less

The worlds of beauty and fashion often collide, whether for good or bad. In both, underrepresentation has always been, and remains to be, a major unresolved issue. After the recent killing of George Floyd, many people are rightfully enraged, compounded by the fact his death in police custody wasn't an isolated incident.

Police brutality against Black people is not new, and isn't going away till we start dedicating resources to fighting it. Many of us, as individuals, have only begun in the last week scratching the surface of what it means to educate ourselves on race, historical race relations, and how to be an ally to the Black community.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Feel A Lil' Better: Because You Can Still Connect While Disconnecting From Social Media

Your weekly wellness boost from Odyssey.

No matter how good (or bad) you'd describe your health, one thing is for sure: a little boost is ALWAYS a good idea. Whether that's reading a new, motivating book, or listening to a song that speaks to your soul, there are plenty of resources to help your health thrive on any given day.

I don't know if you've heard, but there's a lot going on right now, particularly in relation to George Floyd's death, Black Lives Matter, and public protest of racial injustice in the United States. While we can all agree that this deserves conversations, change, and actionable good, social media arguments with Great Aunt Linda are not where social change begins and ends. Spending too much time scrolling through your phone has never been healthy, but now it's even more addicting — what does that one person from my hometown say about this? How can I further education within discussions? Am I posting enough?

Keep Reading... Show less

I don't know about you, but reading is at the top of my to-do list this summer... especially with all the social distancing I'll still be doing. If, like me, you're hoping to pick up a romantic page-turner (or a couple dozen), here are 23 romance novels by Black authors you'll absolutely LOVE reading.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

12 Ways To Help The #BlackLivesMatter Movement If You CAN'T Protest

We can all do better. Join the fight against racial injustice.

The current state of the world has created the perfect storm for change in America. But with change there is always risk. Although protests have sprung up all across America, COVID-19 is still a very real risk. Luckily, you can help bring about change from the comfort of your own home. And no, I don't mean just by posting a black square on social media.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

22 Black-Owned Etsy Shops With The Perfect Gifts For Everyone In Your Life — Including You

Treat yourself and your loved ones while supporting Black creatives and artisans.

R-KI-TEKT, Pontie Wax, Lovely Earthlings, and blade + bloom on Etsy

The world is taking action against the injustices and under-representation plaguing Black lives, and one small but impactful thing you can do to actively make a difference is support Black-owned businesses.

Etsy is likely one of your go-to sites for gift-buying, but have you ever paid attention to which independent artists and sellers you're buying from?

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

True Self-Care Is HARD, That Face Mask Isn't Actually Going To Solve Your Problems

There's a line between self-care and self-destruction.

Anyone who hasn't been living under a rock for the past few years has seen something somewhere about self-care whether it was on Facebook, Twitter, or their Instagram feed. Oftentimes it's pictures of celebrities or influencers sipping green smoothies or slathering on mud masks with #selfcare. It's posts like these that made me realize that "self-care" has become the ultimate buzz word, soaring in popularity but in the process, it's lost most of its original meaning. It's time to set the record straight and reclaim the term.

Although self-care has been around for quite some time, within the past few years it's been misconstrued and commodified as our capitalist society tends to do with things it thinks can be profited off. Self-care is now being peddled as something that can be bought and sold on the shelf at Target rather than something that takes real work to achieve. This fake self-care movement is not only enabling people to over-indulge themselves, but it has created a crutch for people to avoid the responsibility of taking true care of themselves. Instead of doing the work that needs to be done, many people fall into the trap of rewarding themselves for doing nothing at all — this can quickly become an unhealthy coping mechanism, especially with corporations cheering us on (to buy their next product). Long, hard day at work? Just grab your third iced coffee of the day! Fight with your SO? Buy that 50-dollar face mask, it'll make you feel better! This is how self-care becomes self-sabotage and self-destructive.

Keep Reading... Show less

Minorities are consistently under-represented in our day-to-day lives, notably in the world of fashion. It's likely you're looking for a way to support black artists. Whether that's the case or you're just a fashion-lover in general, these brands aren't just some of the best black-owned fashion brands — they're some of the most innovative brands of our time, period.

From luxury staples to fun accessories and loungewear, these brands aren't just stunning names you should definitely be following on Instagram, each honors the founder's roots in unique ways with the power of storytelling through artistic expression that manifests in pieces we can't wait to wear.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments