Study Guide

Citizen Kane Society and Class

Society and Class

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.

Questions About Society and Class

  1. Do you think it's fair to say that Charles Foster Kane is a "friend of the workingman?" Why or why not?
  2. Where do we first get the sense that Kane's class crusade is going to go wrong? Why?
  3. Why is Kane hated by both the rich and the working class of America? Try backing up your answer with direct evidence from the movie.

Chew on This

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.