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Example research essay topic: Citizen Kane Textual Analysis Of The Picnic Scene - 1,070 words

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... g him appear older and obviously prostrate. Despite his casual dress, the top button of his shirt remains fast and his coat clasped between his hands. With his chin on his chest he appears fragile yet stubborn. His tone spells out his weariness and his boredom with Susan's continuing attack. His obvious attempt to avoid the discussion through remarks on Susan's volume and his wish for her to cease display his desire to avoid conflict and keep up appearances with the guests.

Kane's character is not developed traditionally and never reaches the point of full development, remaining ambiguous (Cardullo, 1986, p. 242). Although we want to know Kane, what knowledge we get serves only to alienate us from him, especially due to the conflicting points of view and it is because of this that we never become sympathetic towards Kane in the traditional cinematic sense. We learn of Kane and know him through the eyes of others, seeing him in the 'narrative present' only at his death. However, 'we come to know Susan through the eyes of the filmmaker in the 'narrative present' and therefore, particularly in this scene, develop a sympathetic relationship with her ' (Cardullo, 1986, p. 242). Susan has changed her dress entirely and sits in a relaxed fitting, low cut nightdress suggesting that she has nothing to hide. She has decided that it is time to stand up to Kane.

The close ups of her face in three point lighting and high angle camera shots serve to represent her as almost angelic, devoid of all flaws; a young and beautiful innocent rising up against her oppressor. As the accusations flow from her mouth, Kane becomes increasingly more forceful in his tone and volume, with Susan reciprocating with a heightening pitch of her voice during her rebuttal. The tension peaks with Kane standing. The eyes from his face, casting an evil and overbearing shadow shot in a low angle, glare down and an eye-line match shows a high angle shot framing Susan's child-like face. The following 'images of his [Kane's] massive form towering over the submissive woman are more than simple evocations of tyranny: We fear along with Susan, but we also feel sympathy for Kane who is pained by age and thwarted desire' (Naremore, 1989, p. 288). As 'this can't be love' continues to blare suggestively in the background, Kane and Susan share a heated moment that nears climax.

Adding to the tension is the fact that their guests are enjoying themselves at a swampy encampment while the 'jazz band plays against a sinister and prehistoric matted RKO background, complete with flying pterodactyls' (Naremore, 1989, p. 288). They are oblivious to what is going on in the tent behind them. The camera returns to the tent and Kane stands over Susan in a dramatic low angle shot. Kane tries to explain and it is here that we see the love in his eyes as his face softens at he sight of the woman he loves kneeling before him, here we feel for Kane as he breaks the silence, "Whatever I do, I do because I love you." Susan is disgusted, "you don't love me, you want me to love you... [mimicking] I'm Charles Foster Kane, whatever you want name it and it's yours, but you gotta love me!" the violence in her voice and it's pitch escalate the tension to climax. Kane slaps her. In defiance, Susan does not allow him to see her pain.

Her line "don't tell me your sorry" declares her inability to forgive him, underlining the futility of an apology. The music is abruptly cut short at the moment Kane makes contact with her face, A woman's screams and cries replacing the music, heard outside and act as a 'subtle auditory cue to Susan's pain' (Quicksilver, 2001). It is here that the end of the relationship between Susan and Kane is made concrete by Kane's cold reply, "I'm not sorry." The sequence ends with a close up of Susan's face glaring up at Kane, dissolving into the next sequence to a follow shot of Raymond who once again leads us to Kane to inform him of Susan's leaving. Marking the final blow to Kane, this sequence highlights Kane's misconceptions of love, drawn from the theft of his childhood and his upbringing by the bank. His confusion of love with ownership and monetary exchange east Susan and finally drives her away. In it's strategic use of deep focus, weaving narrative and cinematic pattern that repeatedly insists on the lure of the past and the power of the unconscious, the viewer is continuously waiting for the mystery to unfold and become crystal clear, but unfortunately, this is never to be.

The action in this scene is examined both dramatically and geometrically in terms of action, blocking, composition and framing. This geometry includes line of sight, lines of power as well as the lines of figure in the shot. And the form that it generates. The use of long takes and brief cuts within this single sequence harness Citizen Kane's unconventional emphasis on the full resources of both montage and mise-en-scene as an essential part of it's visual unity. The music and sound effects are intended to be heard yet pass unnoticed, casually offering the viewer a key to the scene. However, perhaps what is most fascinating is that we owe the most famous and highly acclaimed film of all time to a young man of twenty-five 'who had nothing to recommend except his ideas' (Quicksilver, 2001).

Bibliography Bazin, Andre. Orson Welles. Preface by Jean Cocteau. Paris: Editions Chavane, 1950. Beja, Morris, ed. Perspectives on Orson Welles.

New York: G. K. Hall, 1995 Bordwell, David. "Citizen Kane. " Film comment 7, no. 2 (summer 1971), 38 - 47. Reprinted in Gottesman, Focus on "Citizen Kane. " Bordwell, David and Kristen Thompson. "Style in Citizen Kane. " In Film Art: An Introduction. 4 th ed. , 60 - 69. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1993.

Bordwell, David and Kristen Thompson. "Narrative form in Citizen Kane. " In Film Art: An Introduction. 6 th ed. , 78 - 89. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2001. Dirks, Tim. "Review of Citizen Kane. " web 1996 - 2001. (accessed 24 th August 2001) Gottesman, R. Perspectives on Citizen Kane, New York, G. K. Hall & Co. , 1996.

Naremore, James. The magic world of Orson Welles. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989


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Research essay sample on Citizen Kane Textual Analysis Of The Picnic Scene

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