Kane’s Loveless Wealth<br />By:<br />Peter Derks<br />March 24, 2010<br />Mr. Kabachia<br />Humanities 30-1<br />The movie...
Critical Analytical Response
Critical Analytical Response
Critical Analytical Response
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Critical Analytical Response

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Critical Analytical Response

  1. 1. Kane’s Loveless Wealth<br />By:<br />Peter Derks<br />March 24, 2010<br />Mr. Kabachia<br />Humanities 30-1<br />The movie Citizen Kane, explores the life and ideals of a wealthy man as he progresses through his life as a businessmen. The protagonist in the film is Charles Foster Kane, his appetite for wealth and possessions results in a loss of true love and a materialistic perception of life. The plot of the film revolves around a young reporter attempting to find the meaning of Kane’s final word: “Rosebud”. Rosebud represents his childhood, and the love he felt, which he could never find in his later years. Struggle is inquired when he attempts to restore honour and certainty by marrying Susan Alexander and pursuing his future in the newspaper industry, which leads to misery and depression. <br />Susan Alexander was Charles Foster Kane’s second wife and illustrates a metaphor for a second chance at find a marriage based upon love instead of material goods. Kane’s first marriage ended when Emily (his first wife) was told Kane was in a relationship with Susan. Prior to meeting Susan, Kane was searching for his childhood and ironically found Susan instead of a sleigh from his young, named Rosebud. The irony created upon meeting Susan is a result of the materialistic marriage, which Kane created by purchasing statues and find goods for Susan and him. The relationship began when Kane was able to give Susan laughter, and for the first time since his childhood, Kane had given an object without it having a measurable value. However, the marriage quickly spirals downward, when Kane build her an opera house to eliminate the sarcasm when Susan is referred to as a singer, thus making her an investment and not his cherished wife. Susan explains a rendition of the term “money can’t buy happiness”, by stating to Kane; “sure you can have anything...but you [have to] love me”. The statement is another ironic attack at Kane, because he has everything and the only possession he does not have, at this point in the play, is love. His perception of Susan as an investment causes him to become detached from her and results in the construction of the Xanadu. When attempting to repair the honour and certainty in his marriage, it produces an outburst from Susan where she states “I never loved you!” Kane dies a lonely man because his mother taught him that love requires wealth and power, when she gave her away as a ward to Thatcher and Co.. Charles is seen as a tragic hero because he faces insurmountable odds, how can one love anything if he does not know what love is. Another aspect of his struggle is how he fails incredibly, because he never finds Rosebud and can never find love.<br />Charles Foster Kane’s marriage is not the only flaw in his attempt to restore honour and certainty, but also his career and his relation to society and fellow writers. Kane wanted to be a representative of the workers, underprivileged and society, when he purchased a small newspaper company. He wanted to become a man of the people; his rushed political career is an example of his attempt to present himself to the world. Kane wished to give the people what they wanted, through his newspaper and speeches. Just like with Susan, this resulted in making his fellow writers and society into a possession. By practicing his ability to state his opinion and ideals in his editorials, he transforms people into objects, which he can invest in. His goals for his career as a writer where much too broad and general, the details of his personal life were over-looked, such as his marriage to Emily. His entire career can be summarized as a scale. When he first purchased the newspaper company, his life was in balance between work and society. However, as his life goes on and he gets married to Emily, the film illustrates their loss of communication through a diminishment in their tone towards each other and a decline in their presence to one another. Work takes precedence and his marriage becomes a heavier and heavier burden, thus tipping the scale. Struggle is inquired because he strains to hold the scale in place, resulting in a deficit in the honour and certainty of his life. Examples when the load on one side of the scale becomes too heavy are when he purchases the opera house (making Susan an investment) and as his small newspaper company flourishes into a massive enterprise. At the end of his life when he lying on his deathbed, he no longer has a wife, no true friend and is isolated with his work in the confines of the Xanadu; the scale bottoms out and he dies a tragic, lonely death.<br />In Citizen Kane, Charles Foster Kane tragically fails in an attempt to restore honour and certainty. Throughout his career and marriage with Susan he is unable to find love in his life. In the case of Susan, his materialistic perception of her results in a loveless marriage and a lonely death. Through his career he aspires to balance his work with his marriage and results in meaningless wealth. If “[Kane] hadn’t been so rich, [he] might have been a great man”, and had a life filled with love like the people he tried to spoil with possessions and wealth.<br />

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