I had another thought about Western romances.
Does the reason the “mail-order bride” plot is so popular in Western romances have anything to do with the idea that marriage is linked to civilization? In that case, marriage could be civilization, and imposing it upon two people can be likened to imposing a farm onto a wilderness, or law upon a den of outlaws.
True, the mail-order bride isn’t usually forced legally to marry, but she often takes that action under force of circumstances. Circumstances, interestingly, that usually arise in the East, supposedly a place of “civilization.”
Is there a subtle commentary going on here, that the “civilized” world isn’t, and that the new, improved civilization is the looser, freer world of the frontier? A commentary also, perhaps, on the European historical, particularly the rigid Regency or Victorian, versus the “new” world of America?
I am probably reading way too much into this.
The Intricacies of Marriages of Convenience.