Citizen Kane Critical Essay

702 Words 3 Pages
In the many critical essays on Citizen Kane, three different perspectives on its meaning have dominated analytical writing about that film: work that concentrates on the mythic characters of Kane; essays that analyze the kaleidoscopic narrative structure that shapes its story; and writing that offers detailed interpretations of the stylistic compositions in the film, such as its use of deep focus and dramatic editing techniques. With the first two types of analysis as a background, here I will examine a single, early scene in Citizen Kane to demonstrate the legendary visual power of the film. In this scene, Citizen Kane crystallizes a family drama of loss and division inseparable from a life lived in dense and complex spaces and perceived from many points of view.
In this tale of Charles Foster Kane’s rise to a position as one of the richest and most powerful men in America, the episode in question sets the stage for the entire film. It succinctly describes the sudden wealth of Kane’s mother, an unexpected windfall from a deed to a silver mine
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This obsession perhaps acts out his semiconscious struggle to replace the image of his lost childhood and family torn apart in this early scene in the film. Throughout the remainder of his life he struggles to create, own, and control the people and things around him by imposing his perspective on them—the way the perspective of others controlled him early in his life. The film is also a narrative constructed around the multiple points of view of Kane’s friends, wife, and associates, all of whom dramatize how points of view can attempt to frame a man’s life as a way of understanding or interpreting that life. The irony and tragedy of Charlie Kane’s life is that no one, not even he himself, is able to reconstruct the complete picture and harmony lost in that early childhood

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