Tuesday, February 3, 2009

First reading answers

1. Which story events are directly presented to use in the plot and which do we infer? Is there any non-diegetic material given in the plot?

The death of Kane & The investigation for rosebud. Charles Kane dropped his snowglobe, muttered the word "rosebud" and then passed away at the very beginning of the film. Thompson (reporter) was greatly interested in his life and the mystery meaning of “rosebud”. This meaning of this word prompted Thompson to collect every piece of information about Kane's life. This was achieved through the interviewing of Kane's friends, lovers and workers. Therefore, the action made the audience believe that the movie is about a journey of investigating Kane's life.

I think the non-diegetic materials are: the lost pieces of Kane's life, something the narrators wouldn't know. For example: the meaning of "rosebud"which was visually revealed on the sled.Is it related to his mother, childhood, love he was looking for, or just a normal life before he was adopted? Other elements of the narrative that we infer include the geographic setting of the film. We see Kane and his family at the beginning of the film in a fairly secluded, rural town. Eventually, Kane moves to the big city and his life is accordingly urban. Finally, he moves to Xanadu - another removed location that is depicted as a dreamlike fantasy world. It would be possible to argue that the geographic progression of the film mirrors Kane's personal temperment. The visual clues that are given to the viewer in the setting allow us to understand the kind of life that he is living in various periods of time. For example the very first thing that the viewer reads when the movie begins is a "No Trespassing" sign that is located on the entrance to Xanadu. This visual clue tells the viewer that we are entering the private world of Charles Kane.

2. What is the earliest story event of which we learn? How does it relate through a series of cause and effects to later events?

The very first thing that we learn is that Charles Kane died. This set up the story so that the viewer was in a position where they already knew the outcome of Charles Kane's life, allowing all of the other events to then appear in flash back form. Notably:

The time Kane lived with his mother (and later was adopted). Mrs.Kane hoped that her son could become a rich and powerful man with a better life, so she sent him to live with Thatcher after gold was discovered in the family mine. This plot indicated that the future of Charles Kane would be very successful. But at the end, Kane did become rich and famous but died lonely.

Running a newspaper company :Kane’s first business was giving influence to the public through media: the newspapers. By using a very subjective way to edit the newspaper, Charles Kane showed his characteristic for the first time in the movie: A man doesn't follow rules. This character trait becomes evident throughout various interactions that he has with other characters who the viewer encounters throughout the film.

Leland talked about Kane's 2 failed marriage: Regardless of opinions from his wife, Kane showed his stubbornness and eagerness, not only in his business world but also in his personal life. He had affair with a singer named Susan, which lead to his failure in the political campaign. But eventually, he divorced Susan, and his failure with his love life which was already told to the viewer by the newsreel and the fact that he died lonely.

Affair with Susan leads to the scandal and causes the failure of his political ambition: Kane once again tried to get a higher position and reputation by joining into a political campaign. After the failure of campaign, Kane tried different ways (he built an opera house for Susan and planned an opera ) to take his power back and reclaim public attention via controling the news report with his position.

3. What is the temporal relationship of story events? Has temporal order, frequency, or duration been manipulated in the plot to affect our understanding of events?

The movie begins with Kane’s death and the newsreel that briefly summarized his career and personal life. In search of the reason why Kane had ended up being rich but lonely, and the meaning of his mysterious last word, “rosebud,” the reporter starts to investigate. As he goes through the diary of Kane’s guardian and interviews with Kane’s friend, wife, and butler, the audience learns about Kane’s life of different periods from the flashbacks. After the reporter gives up searching for “rosebud,” the answer is revealed in the very end.

The beginning of the movie leaves the audience with questions and feeling curious, but the following newsreel immediately gives us ideas about who Kane was and the broad facts of his life.As the reading pointed out, the newsreel outlines the sequence of the film in terms of what elements of Kane's life we will learn about. Then the flashbacks make us learn more about Kane’s life from different perspectives. This order is not only interesting but also very powerful.

4. Does the closing reflect a clear-cut pattern of development that relates to the beginning? Do all narrative lines achieve closure, or are some left open?

The unexpected answer to “rosebud” is finally revealed at the end, which makes us think about what Kane’s life would be if his mom did not send him off to the guardians when he was a child, and would he still be alone in the end of his life. We only learn about his childhood from the guardian’s diary, in which there is a huge gap between Kane as a child and an adult. It makes us want to know more about what his relationship was with his mother, and how he became used to the wealthy life and developed his characteristics. It leaves us with more questions.

In terms of the setting, we start and end the film in the same geographic location, giving the viewer some degree of closure. However, because the final reveal of the sled was so abrupt and matter of fact, we are left questioning and wondering what we really saw throughout the film. Finally the movie closes again with the "no trespassing" sign, alluding to the fact that Kane ultimately was a private person and the full meaning of his last words will never be known to the viewer.

5. How does the narration present story information to us? Is it restricted to one or a few characters’ knowledge, or does it range freely among the characters in different spaces? Does it give us considerable depth of story information by exploring the characters’ mental states?

The narration of the story is done via all of the supporting characters in the movie as well as the news reel obituary reporting. Essentially the viewer is asked to investigate the story and the character of Charles Kane via the gaze of those who he interacted with as well as the public. Additionally, and somewhat subliminally, is the exploration of "Citizen" Kane through his own crafting of his public persona via the media, the newspapers and the public statements that he makes consistently throughout the movie. The reading explained that the omniscient narration that appeared prominently at the conclusion of the film focused the viewer and allowed the patterned sequence of the film to be revealed in a seamless manner. Because the movie was initiated with the death scene, the viewer already knows the outcome of his life story which is traced throughout the film, so you feel that you are educated and knowledgeable about all of the information presented in the film, that is the facts. However, despite the actions and the factual information of the narrative that is revealed repeated times, each character adds their own twist on the true nature of this enigmatic figure. As one of the newspaper men said at the beginning of the film (paraphrased) 'it is not enough to say what a man did, you need to know who he was', and that is what this form of narration provided for the viewer. Each character introduced a little more insight into the true nature of the real Charles Kane. The character's mental states showed the viewer how despite himself, Charles Kane was someone who deeply affected many people's lives. In fact, it is somewhat ironic how throughout the entire film, we are seeking information about Kane's mental state and trying to decipher the deep meaning of "Rosebud", however, the means of doing this is by probing the mental states of the supporting characters of his life.

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