Study Guide

Citizen Kane Scene 2

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Scene 2

Scene 2

  • A sudden transition shows us an old-timey newsreel called "News on the March." We see an obituary for a man who once built a giant mansion called "Xanadu" after the mystical location found in Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem, "Kubla Kahn."
  • The place represents pure wealth and a life of pleasure.
  • Apparently, there are enough valuable objects in the mansion to fill ten museums. The place also has a huge private zoo, which explains the monkeys in the first scene.
  • Well, it turns out that the owner of Xanadu, Charles Foster Kane, died in bed. So that's probably our guy from scene #1.
  • The newsreel tells us that Kane was the biggest newspaper tycoon of the 20th century. He also owned a bunch of paper mills, grocery stores, etc.
  • During the newsreel, we look in on a room full of old white dudes discussing how Charles Foster Kane first came into fortune.
  • One man tells the story of how he believes Charles Foster Kane is a communist because he has spent his life attacking the right to private property. But according to the working people of the U.S. Kane was the exact opposite—a fascist. So go figure.
  • In all his life, Kane ran in many elections but never managed to win one. At one point, it looked like Kane was going to become governor of Florida. But he was caught in a sex scandal just a week before his election and his political career went up in flames.
  • During the Great Depression , a bunch of Kane's newspapers went bankrupt.
  • During an interview, Kane is asked about his predictions regarding a war in Europe.
  • He guarantees there will be no war because it couldn't possibly benefit any of the countries involved. Little does he know that he'll turn out to be dead wrong on this, because the war turns out to be World War I.
  • Apparently, Kane spent the final years of his life watching his empire crumble. He lived alone and couldn't get the public to listen to him.

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