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.
Questions About Innocence
How does Rosebud symbolize Charles Kane's lost innocence? Try using specific evidence from the text to back up your answer.
Which characters, if any, manage to keep their innocence in this movie? Why or why not?
How is the loss of innocence connected to Kane's general downfall in old age?
Chew on This
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.