One way I’m using this knowledge about an emotional register is by asking myself what are these emotions reminding my character of?

In Citizen Kane, one of the greatest films of all time, the whole movie is based around an emotional register. The opening scene, Mr. Kane passes away muttering his last word: Rosebud. A gang of reporters spend the whole movie trying to answer, what did these words mean? That’s the mystery and to solve it they are scavenging his life, all his past wives, all his achievements, everything he believed in, hoping to link anything to these words.

The closet they came was this quote:

A fellow will remember a lot of things you wouldn’t think he’d remember. You take me. One day, back in 1896, I was crossing over to Jersey on the ferry, and as we pulled out, there was another ferry pulling in, and on it there was a girl waiting to get off. A white dress she had on. She was carrying a white parasol. I only saw her for one second. She didn’t see me at all, but I’ll bet a month hasn’t gone by since that I haven’t thought of that girl.

For some reason, that girl in the white dress carried so much meaning to the man. Yet never will he know why. I suspect a story could be written about that man which explains it. Here is Mr. Kane’s story.

The scene before Mr. Kane died, his wife had left him, and the god of wrath overtook him. Wrath unlike ever before started destroying everything of hers. In this wave of emotion, his eyes landed upon a snow globe. In a flash, everything changed. He suddenly felt deeply defeated. Emotion of that intensity only been felt one other time in his life. When, in the dead of winter, as a young boy, he was taken from his home, having to leave his favorite sled behind to go to the city. It seemed he hadn’t remembered that sled since that day. Its name came to him as his heart went from him: Rosebud