Perhaps this plot synchronicity is a structural by-product of the nineteenth-century psychological novel. Although, as far as I know, MD was not first published in magazine installments (as so much of Dickens's work was), that plot-twist pacing must surely have been nearly automatic for novelists of the era. In any case, as a reader, I know when I encounter these books that I am wading into a familiar river, though I have never read Moby-Dick before, though I have read Great Expectations dozens of times before.
I recently received a rude rejection letter, presumably written by some callow graduate underling, accusing my poems of "melodrama" and of "saying nothing new," which in light of our reading project is pretty hilarious. For neither one of these great novels says anything new. Both deal with ancient issues of love and honor. Both are jam-packed with melodrama. Both follow predictable narrative patterns. Nonetheless. And that's a big word, that nonetheless.
So my question to you is: why doesn't it matter that these novels follow a well-traveled path? Or does it matter? And for you personally, what does it feel like to wade into the great narrative river?