Friday, January 30, 2009
Citizen Kane: Iva's response
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?
Death of Kane, adoption of Kane in childhood, successful newspaper company, unsuccessful marriage, and failed political campaign are directly expressed in the film. However, we need to infer Kane's childhood after adoption, college life and marriage life because they are omitted throughout the story.
Non-diegetic materials are voiceover and background music. We hear narrator's voice throughout the film which directs us to follow with the story line along with sound effect and music.
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?
We see the death of Kane in the earliest stage of the story and leaves one mysterious word "Rosebud". Audiences are invited to find out the true meaning of the word by guidance of the reporter so the story move backwards to show the life of Mr. Kane.
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 order of events may confuse audience since the time is not chronologically shown. Also, flash backs are often used to tell the series of events. Audiences themselves can piece the puzzles together into the correct order according to Kane's aging and events occurring.
Some events are repeated to emphasize the plot. It is interesting to see the repetition of Emily and Kane's breakfast scenes and it depicts how they are unhappily married whereas Susan and Kane's apartment scenes seem happier. We do not know what is really going on between Emily and Kane but as these scenes are repeated frequently, we could assume their marriage would not last long. Also, Susan's opera scenes are reoccurring to express it was only Kane's will for her to be an opera singer and she clearly had no talent.
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?
Clearly, the film begins and ends with "No Trespassing" sign but the audiences' mind of state changes from curiosity to certainty about "Rosebud". Not all narrative lines are closure since we do not know what has happened to other characters. However, there's no problem understanding the plot with some open narrative lines. It is rather open up to audiences' imagination.
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 story of Kane's life is told by people who are close to Kane: Bernstain, Leland, Susan, and Raymond. Thus, audiences are only seeing objective views(or 3rd person view) on how Kane's mental state has changed. Audiences could symphathize and understand why Kane has become egocentric and unfaithful. However, the protagonist, Kane, cannot view the truth if there is any. The information told in the story is freely open to audience.