Our Chuckie, the Mr. Kane of Citizen Kane, is excruciatingly wealthy. Insanely wealthy. Over-the-top amounts of cash.
It wasn't always the case, though. As a boy, Charles grew up in a modest boarding house run by his mom. But one day, a deadbeat tenant at the house decided to pay his bill by giving a coal mine. But too much moolah—coupled with too little love—ends up making Kane worse off in the long run because it turns him into a selfish monster.
In Citizen Kane, we learn that wealth will often turn a good person into a bad one.
Citizen Kane shows us that the only way to fight big money is to have big money of your own.
The only thing Charles Kane wants out of life is love. The problem is that he has no clue how to go about getting it.
He spends his whole life—and all of Citizen Kane—trying to use his money to make people like him, and when that doesn't work he just throws more and more money around.
But it isn't all Charles' fault. After all, what do you expect from a boy who was raised by a bank instead of his parents? Instead of love, money governed his young years, so it's natural that he thinks money should control all his relationships with people. Sadly, this is the core belief that ends up ruining his life.
Citizen Kane shows us that money can never possibly compensate for the loss of a mother's love.
Citizen Kane demonstrates how growing up with money will warp a child's experience of love and make them think that money can bring them other people's love.
Charles Foster Kane likes to think of himself as a champion of the workingman. But the big trouble is that he thinks of himself as a sort of messiah whose job it is to give poor people the gift of respect and freedom.
What he doesn't realize is that people have a right to respect and freedom as human beings. They're not just all waiting around for our man Citizen Kane to save them. All Kane ever has to do is let people decide what's best for themselves. But he is such a control freak that he wants everything to happen according to his terms—even social revolutions. And as we all find out, this strategy doesn't pan out so well.
In Citizen Kane, we learn that all class warfare is doomed to fail because people's egos get in the way.
Citizen Kane reminds us that if you want to fight the rich, you have to have some money of your own to fight them with.
It's almost impossible for Charles Kane to separate his concept of love from his concept of power. Yes, this is unhealthy. (You had to ask?)
In his mind, love is something you force people to give you by throwing money and favors at them. He even tries to get power by becoming the governor of New York. But that whole thing blows up in his face when he gets caught in a sexual affair with Susan Alexander. The affair never needs to come to light, but it does because Kane refuses to let anyone have power over him and pretty much dares the blackmailer to release the facts about the affair. His inability to accept his own weakness undermines him at this point… and continues undermining him throughout the rest of Citizen Kane.
In Citizen Kane, we learn that power doesn't mean much if you've got no one to hold it over.
Citizen Kane shows us that power can never force people to love you.
Citizen Kane revolves around the image of Charles Kane's childhood sled, "Rosebud." And as a symbol, it does a good job of representing the innocence that Charles once had as a little boy. That all seemed to go away, though, the moment he left home to be raised by Mr. Thatcher from the bank.
We can see that somewhere deep down, the young Charles knows that something is about to be taken away from him. That's why he pushes Thatcher away and tries to run. But in the end, he can't escape the plans that have been laid out for him, and these plans end up costing him his boyhood innocence.
Citizen Kane shows us that innocence is something you can never get back once it's gone.
It's not fair to say that Kane's loss of innocence is bad. After all, it's impossible to control a large fortune without becoming a little cynical.
Charles Kane ain't nothing if he ain't proud. Time and time again, some of his closest friends call him on abandoning his core values.
But does Charles respond well to these challenges like a good friend? Nope, it's just the opposite. Throughout Citizen Kane, he totally isolates himself from anyone who questions him too much, and this all comes down to the fact that he's too proud to ever admit that he's wrong. Even when Boss Geddes tries to blackmail him out of the election for governor, Charles refuses to back down… even though he ends up destroying his family in the process.
In Citizen Kane, we learn that pride (as always) is the number one cause of a man's downfall.
Citizen Kane reminds us that pride is a great thing if you are wise enough to know when you're wrong.