Carringer, Robert L. "Rosebud, Dead or Alive: Narrative and Symbolic Structure in Citizen Kane." PMLA Vol. 91, No. 2 (March, 1976): 185-93.
In this analysis of Citizen Kane, Robert Carringer opens with the idea that to assign any meaning to ‘Rosebud’ is to ‘reduce Kane’s life to a Freudian epigram.’ Furthermore, all attempts to explain the symbol away have ended in it being viewed as a cheap Hollywood gimmick. To Carringer, the confusion about the theme of Citizen Kane is created by the fact that everyone insists on including ‘Rosebud’ as a key component of it. Instead, Carringer asserts that ‘Rosebud’ is a MacGuffin with no thematic significance on it’s own, used to develop meaning beyond what it stands for. It is present to create an association with the central symbol of the film, which according to Carringer is the snow globe that shatters in the opening moments of the film. Because ‘Rosebud’ lacks meaning on it’s own, it makes sense that Welles did not provide consistent answers when asked about it’s significance. Instead, he would provide answers that smoothed over whatever criticism the reviewer was presenting. The inconsistency is added support for the idea of ‘Rosebud’ as a MacGuffin.
‘Rosebud’ is made to seem important because Rawlston suggests it as the premise of his newsreel, which the audience then interprets as a suggested premise for the film Citizen Kane. In Carringer’s opinion, however, the film revolves around the conflict between this premise, and the opposing one proposed by Thompson that a “word can explain a man's life. No, I guess Rosebud is just a piece in a jigsaw puzzle—a missing piece.” This conflict is the open question that Citizen Kane explores, and it seems to arrive at a conclusion more in line with Thompson’s idea. The importance that Rawlson places on ‘Rosebud’ creates a reason to interview multiple people and to explore Charles Foster Kane from so many perspectives.
‘Rosebud’ is the means by which we can reach the end conclusion about Kane. Carringer says, “The film set up Rosebud as the one to be pursued and noisily constructed a quasi-detection plot around it. But, quietly, all the stories functioned to fill in the meaning of the other clue. The little glass globe, not Rosebud, incorporates the film's essential insight into Kane. It is a crystallization of everything we learn about him-that he was a man continually driven to idealize his experiences as a means of insulating himself from human life.”
After watching Pather Panchali, and reading an article like this, it becomes evident that a Satyajit Ray injected aspects of his own personality when molding characters for his movies. The elegance and calmness with which he viewed the world seems to be reflected in the father's character in the movie. Also, Durga seems to be the quintessential example of Ray's view of Indian women of the time, as he shows a young girl full of life, yet extremely responsible towards her family. Therefore, in order to understand Ray as a person, it is of paramount importance to watch his first, and possibly last film.