Let’s analyze a few storires using the expectations model. Nothing rigorous here, just what popped off the top o my head.
The Book of Job: A man’s life falls apart. We expect him to curse his maker. We would totally sympathize if he did. (Since it’s his maker’s fault.) But he does not.
Gospel according to Mark: A man dies. We expect him to stay dead. He does not. He returns from the dead.
High Noon – Bad guy returns to town on the day of the former Sheriff’s wedding. We expect the Sherriff to get married and leave town. But he doesn’t. We expect at least some of the townspeople to help him – but they don’t. We expect his wife to stand by him, but she doesn’t. (Do not forsake me oh my Darling…)
Rocky – Even though the conventions of the boxing story demand that the underdog win at the end, the story creates expecations that Rocky is a bum. That he doesn’t stand a chance. Further, we expect the guy who’s a boxer to be brutish and rough. But the plot with Adrian defies that expectation by showing him to be surprisingly tender and gentle.
To Kill a Mockingbird – We expect Boo Radley to be a monster. He winds up saving Scout.
Don Quixhote – We expect the good Don to take the first good beating and go home. We expect Sancho Panza to wise up and desert the old fool.
Raiders of the Lost Ark – We expect Indy to get into a huge brawl with the guy with the sword – but he just shoots him.
I’m not saying unexpectedness is the gauge of a good story – but there appears to be something going on here. You give me a good story and I’ll show you that a big part of it is unexpected.