Citizen Kane By Orson Welles Essay

825 Words Sep 20th, 2016 4 Pages
Citizen Kane, the 1941 film directed by Orson Welles, is the fictional semi-biographical examination of newspaper mogul Charles Foster Kane’s life. After a screening of a “News on the March” newsreel encapsulating Kane’s life, the producer, Mr. Rawlston, proclaims that “It isn’t enough to tell [the viewer] what a man did, you’ve got to tell [them] who he was” (qtd. in Bordwell, Thompson, 102). Mr. Rawlston sends news reporter Jerry Thompson in search of the meaning of Kane’s last word before his death, “Rosebud”, as a way of learning who the real Charles Foster Kane was. Both the viewer and Thompson learn about Kane’s life through various stories told by those close to him. At the end of the film though, after hearing about Kane from a bevy of people Thompson is unable to figure out the meaning of “Rosebud” but also realizes that even if he had, it might have not made a difference because perhaps no one word could explain a man’s life (107). It’s only after Thompson resigns in his search for the meaning of the word that the viewer sees a member of Kane’s staff throw a sled from Kane’s childhood with the word “Rosebud” printed on it into an incinerator after it is marked as junk. Despite the viewer finally learning the meaning of the word, we are still left with all the same questions and uncertainty about Charles Foster Kane’s true character as Thompson is and therein lies the bigger idea explored throughout the story: is it possible to every really know who someone is?…

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