Psychoanalytical Viewing of Citizen Kane

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***The study of Charles Foster Kane's relationship with his mother and the subsequent consequences of their separation.***

Kane's insecurity as a result of the loss of his childhood innocence, is illustrated for his desire to "cash in his capital and turn it onto concrete objects". Thus diminishing his risk of suffering premature loss of things he is close to, and therefore causing further damage to his conscious and subconscious self.

Kane buries his traumatic loss (moment of separation from his mother). This is reflected in the sled's burial under the falling snow (Boardinghouse scene). Freud suggests that something that must never be lost may be hidden and preserved. "This images evokes the little sled (simultaneously precious and insignificant) buried in the snow (hidden and preserved)."

In the Boardinghouse scene, we are introduced to 'Rosebud', the ties between Kane and his mother, and his fathers insignificance. The primary alliance lies between Kane and his mother.

Theory of triangles: Mary, Thatcher and Kane as the three points, which are composed in depth.

In Kane's subconscious, "Rosebud" represented the simplicity, the comfort and above all the lack of responsibility in his home. It also stood for his mother's love.

William Johnson states in Of Time and Loss that Rosebud was the psychoanalytical key to Kane's character, a symbol of innocence that cannot be recovered.


"Rosebud" - symbol of childhood trauma, loss of innocence and degradation of Kane's life as a result.

Constant framing of Kane - reminiscent of Boardinghouse scene. Symbolises Kane's vulnerability and lack of control over his own life.

Freudian theory of his father figures (Thatcher, Carter, the Chronicle) and his rebellion towards them; as well as his consequent succumbing to each one respectively: separation from his mother, loss of assets, loss of Emily, loss of...