The varieties of class, individuality, religion, and raceare a few of the enrichments within the “melting pot” of our society. The blend of these numerous diversities is the crucial ingredient to our modernnation. Even though America has been formed upon these diversities, itsinhabitants- the “average American”- have a single thing in common; asingle idea; a single goal; the American Dream. The Dream consists of aseemingly simple concept; success. Americans dream of a successful marriage,family, successful job, and own a Victorian-style home with a white picket fenceand an oak tree with a swing tire in the front yard. The accessories add to thepackage according to the individuality of the American Dream.
And, perhaps alongwith the “melting pot” includes the entangled extremes of eachAmerican’s dream; the degree of the Dream is now ambiguous in terms ofboundaries. Perhaps the American Dream varies for the individual as theindividual varies. Charles Foster Kane possessed everything the materialisticman could hope for. Kane had more money than he could count, power, a successfuljob, women at the crook of his arm, and expensive possessions some men would goto the extremes to have. Yet, Charles constantly had a vast void within him.
Themost important element Kane lacked was the single thing he couldn’t have; thatwas love. “You won’t get lonely, Charles. . . You’ll be the richest man inthe world someday. ” Kane’s mother and father try to use the image of moneyas collateral for giving him up.
Charles experienced a great deal of loss in hisearly childhood. The traumatizing emotions of insecurity and disposition causedby his moving away from home are the roots of Charles’ agonizing yearn to beloved. Sadly, Charles didn’t have a long bond from his mother, but he loved her;Charles’ mother never loved her son. “I’ve had his trunk packed for a weeknow. ” Charles’ mother had his trunk ready ahead of time in anxiousness forhim to leave.
She signed the contracts without any hesitation and showed nosigns of emotion in her stone face. Charles’ unreturned love creates a sense offear and hesitation to love something, only to experience abandonment again. Ironically, even though Charles becomes “the richest man in theworld,” he also becomes the loneliest man in the world; despite all hispossessions, power, and potential, Charles didn’t posses the single element thatbecame vital to his self-worth; love Inevitably, Charles foster Kane becomes therich man everyone predicted he would be. In responses to the letter sent toCharles offering numerous businesses to own, he writes his disinterest in all ofthe “sure-money” businesses except the New York Inquirer. “Ithink it would be fun to run a newspaper.
” Charles’ absence of seriousnessin the awareness of the gross profit conveys his carelessness about money. Instead of running a mining company and gaining a definite profit, he chooses torun the Inquirer because it would be “fun. ” Charles conveys hiscarefree emotions about his money and concentrates more on his own personalenjoyment. “At a million dollars a year, I’ll have to retire in. .
. sixtyyears. ” Charles snickers at the rate of his money loss and again he showsno interest in his mass money, his only interest is in keeping himself busy andhappy (something he cannot maintain). “So we’re bust. Just give me thepaper so I can sign it and go home. ” Even after learning that the Inquirerhad to be shut down because of lack of money, Charles signs the paper as if itsonly value was his ticket home.
Throughout the reporter’s interview with Mr. Bernstein, many clues to the “Rosebud” mystery were revealed but neverdeciphered. “Maybe this Rosebud. .
. maybe it’s something he lost. Mr. Kanewas a man who lost almost everything. ” In addition to Mr. Bernstein’sstatement, Charles Foster Kane was a man who had everything- according toby-standers- but at the same time, he had nothing- according to close relations.
Charles Foster Kane possessed everything, materialistically, one’s heartdesires. But, in a different aspect, Charles Foster Kane had nothing. “Hemarried for love. That’s why he did everything.
That’s all he ever really wantedwas love. He just didn’t have any to give. ” Love; the single thing Charleswanted, and needed, but could never grasp because he was incapable of lovingsomeone else. In his battle to be elected governor, Kane’s primary campaign ideawas formed to benefit the underpaid and the underprivileged. His efforts tobenefit the lower-class citizens seem to create of compensate for his earlychildhood deprivations.
Kane, unadmittedly, wants to help the lower-classfamilies so his own experiences do not have to be endured by the children ofthese families. Also during the running for office, Emily Kane(Charles’ firstwife) confronts Charles’ mistress. Surprisingly, Charles’ infuriated competitorwas awaiting his arrival. “But the voters of this state. . .
” Charleshas become more interested in the devotion of the people of New York than hiswife, son, and friends. Charles chose to stick by the people of New York insteadof his wife and son because the vast populous lead to more love for Charles. After the news about Charles Foster Kane’s mistress, Susan Alexander, wasreleased Charles and Mr. Leland had a confrontation about the situation.
Mr. Leland, who had been drinking past his limit, said things harshly buttruthfully. “You just want to persuade people that you love them just sothey’ll love you back. But you want love on your own terms. ” Later in themovie, Xanadu, Charles and Susan’s relationship is painfully detached.
Ironically, their marriage turns foul after her love for him runs dry. Susanwants to visit New York; she wants to go to shows and restaurant and dances. ButCharles replies, “our home is here now. . .
I do not wish to visit NewYork. ” Charles’ reluctancy to return to New York symbolizes his disinterestin returning to his mother’s boarding house. On the nigh of Charles’ firstencounter with Susan Alexander, his plan was to go to his mother’s and collectsome old belongings after she had died, but he seemed reluctant to go. Hisreturning to New York would be equivalent to his return to the boarding house.
Susan, as well as Charles, had a dream. Yet, her concept of the perfect lifechanged after she achieved what she thought she wanted. “You always saidyou wanted to live in a palace. ” Susan thought all along that all there isto life is money and diamonds and wardrobe- until she all those materialisticpossessions and felt more empty than she had before. “Money doesn’tmeananything! You never give me anything you really care about!” Afterenduring a shocking realization that what she thought wanted in life wasn’t atall what she really wanted, she began to realize that the single thing she didwant, she knew she couldn’t have- not from Charles at least.
Charles Foster Kanewas seemingly capable of almost anything- except love, for he was never taughthow to love. The one thing he loved- his parents (who made weak efforts toreturn love to their own son) abandoned The intangible bond that is crucialbetween a mother and her son was attempted by Charles, but was not returned byhis mother. The rejection of Charles’ love created a sense of fear andincapability to love- which had shadowed him the rest of his life. As forRosebud, the sled, it was the last time Charles Foster Kane can remember beingtruly happy.
Prior to leaving his parents, he was playing in the snow withRosebud, feeling secure, loved, and safe from the realities of the rest of theworries. His last happy memory was lost in the blizzard; the blizzard of his ownlife. Charles Kane’s vast consummation of statues was never understood byanyone. The statues were bought and never opened- why? Perhaps Charles tried tocompensate losing his most valuable possession with buying more invaluableitems.
But they still remained invaluable; quantity did not reimburse for hisone quality item. “Mr. Kane was a man who had everything and then lost it. Rosebud was something he couldn’t get or something he lost. ” “Theremust have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of hisdreams-not through her own fault but because of the colossal vitality of hisillusion. It had gone beyond her, beyond everything.
He had thrown himself intoit with a creative passion, adding to it all the time, decking it out with everybright feather that drifted his way. No amount of fire or freshness canchallenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart. ” Jay Gatsby, aswell as any other American, dreamt for the angelic life. Being the nephew ofKaiser Wilhelm, Jay Gatsby never faced money predicaments.
His house was amansion- “a factual imitation of some Hotel de Ville in Normandy, with atower on one side, spanking new under a thin beard of raw ivy, and a marbleswimming pool and more than forty acres of lawn and garden. ” Similar toCharles Foster Kane, Jay Gatsby was a rich, powerful, and respected man. Gatsbycould have anything and everything that could be bought. For the materialistic,Jay Gatsby had the absolute life.
Yet, his possessions were obsolete because hedidn’t have the most essential and most profound part of Man’s life; love. JayGatsby held enormous social gatherings at his immaculate mansion, but he didn’tusually socialize. The parties seemed to bring the mansion to life; the onlylife it sees, for Gatsby lives alone and lonely. Even though the guests come tohis parties, Gatsby, no matter how many people try to exchange some insight withhim, is still detached from the crowd. As the drinks run dry and the gossipgrows old, guests disperse and once again the mansion becomes a lifelessstructure tailored with elegant details.
“A sudden emptiness seemed to flownow from the windows and the great doors, endowing with complete isolation thefigure of the host who stood on the porch, his hand up in a formal gesture offarewell. ” Gatsby’s isolation in the doorway portrays his solidarity inlife. The only ray of sunshine in Jay Gatsby’s life is a woman whom he has lovedfor a great while. Daisy Buchanan completed Gatsby’s dream. Simply her presencesatisfied his burning hunger for a sense of love and belonging.
“. . . itcouldn’t be over-dreamed- that voice was a deathless song.
” Jay Gatsby’sembellishment on the simple things such as Daisy’s voice conveys his hopelesslove for her. If only he could have Daisy, his wealthy life could then be rich. Much like Charles Kane, love is the only element that could fill the lingeringemptiness withing their souls. “Gatsby bought that house so that Daisywould be just across the bay. ” Gatsby’s infatuation with Daisy grows intoperspective as we learn that he bought his mansion purely to be within sight’sdistance of his love.
Gatsby would look at the green light at the end of Daisy’sdock every night as if it were her. “If it wasn’t for the mist, we couldsee your home across the bay. You always have a green light that burns all nightat the end of your dock. ” The burning green light symbolizes Gatsby’sburning desire for Daisy, but the mist of reality blocks his view. The light isjust out of Gatsby’s vision, as if Daisy were just out of his grasp.
Daisy, muchlike Susan Alexander, always convinced herself that she knew what she reallywanted out of life. Daisy, being married to Tom Buchanan, had more than enoughmoney and all the luxuries anyone could imagine, but she seemed discontent withwhat she had. Unhappy, Daisy ventures to try and find something she doesn’tshare with Tom; love. In her search, she realizes that Gatsby could fulfill heremotional emptiness. “Daisy’s face was smeared with tears and when I camein. .
. Gatsby was literally glowing. ” Realizing Gatsby’s feelings, Daisycried for joy, and perhaps she also cries out of sadness, for she alwayssubliminally knew she could never be with Jay. As Daisy gains more of JayGatsby’s affection, he marriage becomes unstable, and scared to lose hermaterialistic things in life, she turns back to Tom. Daisy knows she cannot haveboth. Even though her marriage with Tom does not consist of love, it is stable.
Daisy, conscious of this stability, stays with what she feels secure, ignoringthe bond she has formed with Jay. Similar to Susan Alexander, when DaisyBuchanan finally achieves what she thought she needed in her life, she returnsto what she had before. But for Daisy, she returned to aristocracy and Susanreturned to a more subtle, ordinary lifestyle where she could blend with societyas Susan Alexander, not as an aristocrat. Along with the ingredients of the”melting pot” are the jumbled ideas of the American Dream. Is thereonly one Dream? Perhaps it is simply happiness. No matter if it’s money, love,security or a palace, a snow sled, or a green light, whatever it may be thatfills the blank space in your heart, the Dream will create a sense of absolutecontentment within yourself.
As for some of us, simple, unconditional things canfill those blanks, and for others, possessions may occupy them, but theunbounded span of the Dream includes the unbounded span of the individualAmerican.