Citizen Kane:
American Dream=Happiness?

         Citizen Kane, directed by Orson Welles in 1941, is a movie about a man who died with a single word on his lips, "Rosebud." The movie depicts a reporter (William Alland), who decides to go to different characters to find out who exactly Kane (Orson Welles) is and what Rosebud could mean. Though this is the main objective of the film makers, there is also an undertone of money does not mean happiness.

         Early on in the movie a person can see that at an early age Kane, played by as a child by Buddy Swan, received the American Dream of materialistic items without really having to work for it. Of course the American Dream means to have lots of money and power. Many people would assume that this means that he has to be the happiest person in the world, but throughout the movie he is not. Actually, he tries to buy love from the people around him. Even in the end, he dies all alone, although he has the money, power, and prestige that virtually everyone hopes to achieve.

         This movie shows people that have a misconception of money equaling happiness, that this is not always the case. Kane was definitely not a happy man; if anything money made it worse. Of course, one has to wonder what would have happened if the money had not just been given to him but that he had had to earn. There is a saying that says something like it is not the end of road but the journey that gets you there. If Kane had worked towards the opportunities to get rich instead of basically having everything handed to him on a silver platter, his life would have been completely different. Here is an exchange he has with Judge Thatcher (George Couloris):

         Charles Foster Kane: You know, Mr. Thatcher, if I hadn't been very rich, I might have been a really great man.
         Thatcher: Don't you think you are?
         Charles Foster Kane: I think I did pretty well under the circumstances.
         Thatcher: What would you like to have been?
         Charles Foster Kane: Everything you hate.

         A person can almost see a similar thing in today's society. It seems that the children who grow up with a fortune already seem so unhappy. This concept of the American Dream is already theirs; what is left for these children but to try and find some happiness, which usually leads many young adults to the party and drug scene. Kane may not have done the same thing, but it was obvious he was unhappy; and people who have seen this movie should take that money definitely does not mean happiness and there is so much more to life than that

Michelle Maden

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