This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Citizen Kane: Redefining The American Dream

985 words - 4 pages

In the classic film Citizen Kane, director Orson Welles introduces the idea of the American Dream: a life of success and wealth. One's formal expectation of this theme would be that of a perfect family life, large amounts of money, a successful career and ultimately, happiness. Welles redefined these expectations through the mise-en-scene of the first flashback in which Kane's parents bequeath him to Thatcher.The scene opens with Charles Kane's mother, father and their banker, Thatcher, in the Kane boarding house. Kane's mother is shown in the forefront of the scene, walking towards the camera with the two men following in the background. This is representative of the control Kane's mother holds over the rest of the family, which is soon confirmed by her decision to give Charles to Thatcher despite the reluctance of both young Charles and his father. The scene then progresses to the three adults discussing the fate of Charles Kane. In this segment, Mrs. Kane and Thatcher are seated at the table while Mr. Kane stands slightly in the background. This shows Mr. Kane's lack of dominance and his frustration due to this fact. As the scene advances, the camera moves backward for a deep focus shot. This shot includes Kane's mother in the foreground, Kane's father at the door, and Kane himself in the background, seen only through the window. The audience's attention transfers back and forth between Kane's mother signing the papers and the outside window, where Kane is running around and throwing snowballs. This emphasizes how Kane's mother is signing the control of her son's life away. Later in the scene, the camera zooms in on Mrs. Kane's face for a close-up that shows the audience the complete lack of emotion Mrs. Kane has for giving up her son. Through the combination of these cinematic elements, Welles alters the audience's expectations that Kane would have grown up with a perfect family. Instead, Welles presents the audience with Kane's conflicted childhood and a family with obvious control issues.Welles surprises the viewer by using the first flashback scene of Kane's childhood as a direct contrast to the wealthy life we previously saw Kane living at Xanadu. This scene is set in the Kane boarding home. This illustrates the meagre means from which Kane sprang. The camera angles used in both this scene and the previous scene at Xanadu are both low-angle shots, used to contrast the differences in space. At the beginning of the scene, we see Kane's mother, Father and Thatcher crowded around the window. The audience's attention is drawn to the obvious differences between the Kanes' costumes and Thatcher's. While Mr. and Mrs. Kane dress in simple, humble outfits, Thatcher is dressed in a nice suit and tie. This clearly defines the difference in social status between Kane's parents and his new guardian. Welles furthers this distinction by having Thatcher speak with an accent. Even Thatcher himself serves as a metaphor for Kane's transition into a new...

Find Another Essay On Citizen Kane: Redefining the American Dream

Citizen Kane: The Story of Failure

2153 words - 9 pages Since the beginning of the American Dream, Americans have idealized the journey towards happiness. One thing people do not realize, however, is that the journey requires hard work and honesty. Charles Foster Kane (Orson Welles), the main character of Citizen Kane (1941), directed by Orson Welles, was unable to learn this through the humble happiness of childhood in relative poverty. As he grows up in a very privileged atmosphere, he views

Citizen Kane: Analysis of the 'Picnic Scene'

1272 words - 5 pages "Choose a particular scene from the film and examine it closely, paying attention to both narrative content and filmic techniques."Citizen Kane, directed, produced by and starring Orson Welles is famous for its remarkable scenes, cinematic and narrative technique, and experimental innovations. The focus of this essay is on the picnic sequence that appears late in Susan Alexander's recount to Thompson, the reporter searching for the meaning of

Mind Control || The satire in "Citizen Kane"

534 words - 2 pages The famous classic Citizen Kane, by Orson Welles, lashes out at the way we are affected by the mass media. The film paints a stingingly clear picture of the malleability of the public opinion, and the power that the media possesses over it. The film outlines the life a newspaper tycoon by the name of Charles Foster Kane, showing the significant influence his newspaper had on politics, war, and the personal lives of several people. It is a harsh

The Film that Shakes the World: Citizen Kane

1256 words - 5 pages of film and combining them together, Citizen Kane redefined the look of modern American Cinema. (Malcom, 2). There are a number of scenes in which the film techniques masterfully come together in the film. However, in the following paragraph, I illustrate this idea by analyzing one scene that had a particularly moving effect on the viewer. The scene I chose to analyze is the one in which the reporter, Jerry Thomson, attempts to interview Kane’s ex

How effective is the portrayal of the independent self in "Citizen Kane"

990 words - 4 pages The portrayal of the independent self, through the protagonist Charles Kane, in Citizen Kane is no doubt effective. It is a 'prismatic' movie concerning the life of a famous American seen from different points of view and shows a man who is inclined towards independence."Citizen Kane" is a film predominantly about a man whose past becomes manifested in his present and future. He is tragically torn from his parents as a child and this separation

Characteristics of a Totalitarian Government Portrayed in the Film, Citizen Kane

1827 words - 7 pages Citizen Kane, released in 1941, is one of America’s greatest films. The film is widely considered a cautionary tale for the late 1930’s and the early 1940’s. The main character, Charles Foster Kane is portrayed as a character that is similar to the totalitarian dictators that came about during this time period, such as Adolf Hitler. Totalitarian dictatorships have the goals of creating unity among the masses and obtaining control over

The importance of Citizen Kane in today's filmic society - Film Production - Essay

1411 words - 6 pages interpretation of their dramatic meaning Codes and conventions of genre used as a means of creating film type and audience expectations Orson Welles was an American director, actor, writer and producer. His film ‘Citizen Kane’ is widely recognised as one of the best films ever made. Welles pushed the boundaries of film making and made new guidelines of what was possible. His success was can be attributed to his innovative use of film language

Comparing Life Without Meaning in Eliot’s The Waste Land and Welles’ Citizen Kane

2173 words - 9 pages Life Without Meaning in T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land and Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane It is the foundation of modern civilization that knowledge is better than ignorance, understanding more valuable than confusion, and wisdom more desirable than foolishness. Consequently, people feel that they should be able to understand the meaning of life and, in doing so, know that their lives are not in vain. They want life to be a coherent whole

The American Dream

1114 words - 4 pages So what is the American dream?As you well know, we as a class early this term studied that exact subject. We defined it into words such as POWER, FREEDOM, LIBERTY, SUCCESS, WEALTH and to be NUMBER ONE.The denotative meaning of the American dream is given in the Random House Dictionary: 1. The ideals of freedom, equality, and opportunity traditionally held to be available to every American. 2. A life of personal happiness and material comfort as

The American Dream

792 words - 4 pages dreams many people in this tim era would consider this to be their dream because they got the leisure to do as they please. While a person would consider just having enough money to pay bill, a roof over their heads, and food their goals the dream is way different. Todays American citizen would consider their dream to have; beautiful children, their own home, and financial stability. If you don’t have those three things most people would not be able

The American Dream

367 words - 2 pages In movies, the “American Dream” is often referred to as having a perfect life. The American Dream in movies usually consists of white families with a big house, a mom named Mrs. Smith, a dad named Bob Smith,with a big property for the kids Bob Junior and little Suzy to play, a dog named Roaver, and a nice car for dad. Life is perfect. Dad would go work hard all day, and come home with dinner made. At dinner, he would tell Bob Junior

Similar Essays

The American Dream (Discussion Of The Problems That Arose When Trying To Reach The American Dream, Based On Three Films, "Citizen Kane", "Grapes Of Wrath", And "Death Of A Salesman.")

2912 words - 12 pages superficial things in the American Dream do not truly achieve it.This paper will discuss the ownership of the American Dream and the aspect of how the search for something better leads to the intangible and the never ending "pursuit of happiness." The readings of Thomas Jefferson's "Declaration of Independence," and excerpts from "The Live of Working Men and Women," as well as the films, The Grapes of Wrath, and Citizen Kane, Death of a Salesman will be

Kane, Gatsby, And The American Dream

1133 words - 5 pages The Great Gatsby written by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Citizen Kane a movie directed by Orson Welles are both monumental stories in American society as they both represent the American dream at it’s most brilliant high. The Great Gatsby is all about time and the American dream; it is essentially what consumes Gatsby. Both Kane and Gatsby are representations of the American dream, and as we read into their stories we see that time and the dream

Redefining The American Dream: The Beat Generation And Its Literature

1491 words - 6 pages christened "the Beats", sprung up across America. This sparse movement of roaming vagabonds, their experience both captured and defined by such immortal writers as Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, utterly rejected the values and ideals of middle class America. Beat literature drastically redefined the American Dream to one which valued individuality and the deeper meaning derived from life experience by popularizing and glorifying anti-heroes who

The Crucible, Citizen Kane, Newspaper

978 words - 4 pages The film Citizen Kane directed by Orson Welles shows us a multifaceted view of Charles Fost Kane. He uses a variety of innovative film techniques to show Kane who struggle with love, power, truth and so on .Through Thompson, we go through five close people relate with Kane and know the different"faces"of Kane. But none of them knows the meaning of Kane' dying word "Rosrbud". The Charles Foster Kane that Orson Welles presents just like Thopson