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Citizen Kane Essay

834 words - 3 pages

     Orson Welles’ cinematic classic, Citizen Kane, is a film that centers on a group of reporter’s investigation into the meaning of Charles Foster Kane’s last word, “Rosebud.” Through their investigation of his last words, the team of reporters, is presented with an almost, but not quite, complete picture of “Citizen” Kane’s life. By assuming that the man’s last word was as grandiose as his life, the reporters miss out on the bigger, more holistic picture, which is Charles Foster Kane’s life. The reporters’ emphasis of attention on what turns out to be a small and trivial, although they never find that out, aspect of Kane’s life, make Citizen Kane a perfect example of the pitfalls of over-interpretation.
     Utilizing flashbacks, Welles paints a varied and descriptive picture of Charles Kane’s life. Through interviews with people who were close to Charles Kane an extensive account of his life is presented. From his simple childhood, to Walter Parks Thatcher’s intervention and influence on his abrupt rise to success, to his ultimate downfall. Charles Foster Kane’s is a timeless story about the rise and fall of a man, in which there are many interpretations and lessons to be learned. One of these lessons is that to interpret a piece of art is a tough task, and without the proper restraints the pitfall of over-interpretation is often committed. Everything, especially art lends itself to interpretation, this is natural. However, when a piece of art, or even a mere aspect of that piece of art is over-interpreted, some of its meaning is lost.
     Whenever something is broken down into its component parts and these component parts are analyzed and interpreted individually, some of their meaning is lost. For example, a doctor who specializes in the heart, a cardiologist, knows a whole lot about a small aspect of the greater whole, the human body. By studying the heart in isolation, with no connection to the rest of the body or its organs, some of the hearts “meaning” is lost. Just saying that the “heart pumps blood” is meaningless to the layperson ignorant of biology. The questions of why the heart pumps blood, what is blood, and how does the heart interact with other organs still remain. Not to mention more specific questions such as how other organs, such as teeth, which an orthodontist would be more likely to know, are effected by and affect the heart. A movement within psychology, known as Gestalt psychology, summed this holistic ideology up nicely with its tenet...

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