Citizen Kane has many themes. Some of these themes include corruption of
power, corruption of money, greed, materialism, need for love, abandonment, ambiguity
of Kane's self, stolen childhood, and lost innocence. Orson Welles is able to bring out
these themes through use of extreme low angle/high angle shots, transitions from one
scene to the next, lighting techniques, symbolism, such as the snow globe, etc.
Two themes that are important in this movie are corruption of power and lost
childhood. The theme of Kane's corruption of power helps develop another theme, that
is, Kane's lost childhood. Throughout the movie, Thompson, a reporter, is trying to find
out what "rosebud means. "Rosebud is what Kane says right before his death. He
thinks by finding this out, it will reveal the missing piece of Kane's life. Unfortunately,
he is unable to find out and the movie ends without an answer to what "rosebud, the
missing piece in Kane's life, is.
The first theme is developed when young Charles Foster Kane is taken away from
his family by Thatcher, he has no idea the world he is about to enter is a world of
corruption, money, power, and materialism. Charles Foster Kane accepts the fact that he
is going to be living in this world by accepting the sled he gets from Thatcher for
Christmas. The sled symbolizes a new life being handed to him.
When Kane gets older, he takes over the Inquirer, a newspaper company. When
he enters his office for the first time, everyone stands up and surrounds him as if they are
praising him. This is shot at a low angle shot as if to say that the audience is suppose to
praise him or stand up for him like his colleagues. This makes him look like man