(Spinoff thread from the one about Evita.)
When I think of “melodrama”, the usual plots I think about are the “Oh crap I can’t pay the rent and my evil landlord will kick me out what do I do now?!”, the “villain wants to marry beautiful heroine to get hold of her wealth/get revenge and ties her to the railroad tracks” and this:
Heroine is a poor girl from the country seduced by a worldly and handsome man and tempted to leave for the city. Her lover convinces her that he loves her and will “do the honourable thing” and marry her. The lovers travel to the city together and the man abandons the heroine (sometimes also leaving her with a child) and she’s forced to work as a prostitute to survive. She sometimes dies of a horrible disease, commits suicide or is imprisoned or ends up marrying the love interest (a different person from the seducer).
The third plot is what I’m wondering about. In URL=“http://http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?p=17114270#post17114070”] this post I said I thought Evita was a relatively modern version of this plot (it is based on a real person’s life but loosely-- most historians believe her reputation as a gold-digger was exaggerated by her opponents) with an amoral heroine. I’ve also come across references to the “country girl” seduction plot in discussions of the white slavery panic and silent movies.
Does anyone know how common this plot actually was?