The film Citizen Kane by Orson Welles, opens with a picture of a castle with a window that has a light turned on. As the backgrounds begin to change into a closer view of the castle, then a view of the castle from the reflection of the water surrounding it, we are drawn into the window as a man falls dead with the last words “Rosebud” coming from his mouth. We are then brought through a maze of scenes that reflect one man’s journey through life from his childhood with an abusive father, to the time he inherits the world’s sixth largest fortune.
Charles Foster Kane, is portrayed in the movie as a man who has everything one could ever want. Whatever he doesn’t posess, he tries to buy. Power and wealth to Kane are the epitamy of success, and although he claims or atleast tries to be happy, he truly is not a happy person. As Kane begins to learn that the things he wants most in life he cannot purchase, so to do the people with whom he surrounds himself with. When Kane ran for governor, he tries to use his wealth to overpower his opponent, Gettys.
This backfires on Kane when Getty’s threatens to use information about an affair Kane had to thwart him from the race. Kane once described his wife as a “cross section of the American public”. These sort of references provide us with an image of a man that is willing to do anything to portray himself as loving or able to be loved. Kane was truly never able to love someone. He was given everything he ever wanted, and when he couldn’t buy something, he tried to create it. When Susan Alexander, Kane’s second wife, wanted to be a singer, Kane got her a teacher, and began from there, to create a singer.
He built an Opera house and made her into a glamourous star. Throughout the film, Kane used his paper, the Enquirer to manipulate the minds of the public into believing whatever Kane wrote. Kane also used his paper to show the public how politicians Gettys were corrupt and dishonest. Whether the facts published in the Enquirer were true or not, to Kane was irrelevent. Kane was only interested in promoting himself by not only bad-mouthing people, but by writing articles that had no purpose to them other than to amuse himself.
Throughout the movie, we see that “rosebud” is played up to have some major significance in Kane’s life. Rosebud is definitely a clever prop that Welles uses to take the film on it’s journey. By piecing together his childhood and older years into this clever array of first hand accounts of experiences people have had with him, we are given an insider’s view of a not so known man. The “rosebud” is representative of a life unfulfilled. The burning sled represents that of a youth who lacked the playfulness and love of a father and mother.
I think that the “rosebud” was more of a way to show how Kane suffered from his childhood, and connect it to his inability to be a happy man. Citizen Kane allows people to see what it is like when someone has everything materiel, but can’t seem to find happiness. I feel that this film is significant in saying that power and wealth cannot accumulate the things that which we need to survive. Kane never was truly loved, and could not love. He never knew any of these things because he was always given things to make him happy or to buy his love. Kane could never buy the one thing that he tried so hard to achieve, happiness.