Citizen Kane

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Citizen Kane is one of those classic films that had tremendous impact on not only the field of cinematography, but on American society in general. Written in 1941 by Orson Welles, who also directed and starred in the film, Citizen Kane cries out to be psychoanalyzed. Loosely based on the real life newspaper mogul, William Randolph Hearst, the film sparked not only controversy, but social dialogue for decades. I will discuss the main character, Charles Foster Kane, with a small sidebar about Kane’s scene mate, Susan Kane. The scene I will analyze is the second to last scene in which Kane and Susan are arguing in a tent about their life together and how empty and meaningless it turned out to be. Using Freud’s psychoanalytic theory, the protagonist—Charles Foster Kane—spends his life searching for the love he lost from his mother. The conclusion I drew from that scene is that Kane’s intrapsychic conflict involves his abrupt separation from his mother at the tender age of eight. The behaviors that normally occur during preadolescence are subverted due to this separation. Furthermore, this abrupt separation prevents Kane from developing positive emotional attachments. Before I can provide in depth analysis, I must first provide a brief exposition of the film in order for the reader to fully understand the conclusion I have reached. At the young age of eight, Charles Foster Kane was given away by his parents after his mother comes in to money from the sale of property she owned. Although Kane’s father puts up the pretense of a fight, he subsequently relinquishes his parental rights to the boy. Although Kane’s mother clearly loves Kane, she fears what will become of Kane if he is left with her and her husband (the threat of mistreatment is heavily implied). The preadolescent period is a critical time in a person’s life. Although this is the latency stage, there is still emotional growth occurring that if not nurtured, could be stunted permanently....
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