Productive class discussion was brought to a grinding halt in 4 Le Conte Thursday afternoon when sophomore Brian Eckerson interjected a diatribe on the merits of the movie Fight Club into a lecture on the novel Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens.
“As soon as I saw his hand raised, I remembered why I had vowed never again to ask if ‘anyone has anything to say before we move on?'” said instructor Lois Smith when asked later about Eckerson’s comments.
Fellow students in attendance at the English 45B class sat in perturbed and restless silence while Eckerson expostulated on what he described as the “totally obvious parallels” between the 1999 David Fincher film, about an anarchistic underworld in postmodern America, and Dickens’ literary masterpiece chronicling a young man’s rise in Pre-Industrial Revolution London society.
Eckerson cited the “element of surprise” as the main connection he sees between the film and the novel.
“Basically, you expect that Pip is getting his money from that old lady, right? But, in reality, it’s that convict guy. Obviously, this reminds me of a movie that I am sure that we have all seen, and that movie is Fight Club.” began Eckerson, who until that point in lecture had been seen doodling in the margins of his notebook. Minutes later, Eckerson stopped speaking and leaned back contentedly in his chair, ending what was later described by another student as “the intellectual low point of my college career.”
“I could feel myself getting stupider,” remarked junior Sara Clarke. “As each individual synapse in my brain withered, turned black, and died, I repeatedly cursed God for not allowing me to be admitted to Stanford.”
Eckerson, who has admitted to not having actually read Dickens’ text, based his observations on the 1998 screen adaptation of the novel, staring Ethan Hawke and Gwyneth Paltrow.
“I caught the last half of it on TNT one night,” said Eckerson, who also noted that Gwyneth Paltrow had previously been engaged to Fight Club star Brad Pitt, solidifying in Eckerson’s mind the correlation between Great Expectations and Fight Club.
“Plus, Fight Club was based on a book, just like Great Expectations,” observed Eckerson.
Previous attempts by Eckerson to relate modern films to the literature assigned in Smith’s 45B class have met with equal disdain, notably his insistence on a link between the poetry of Emily Dickinson and the 1995 Robert De Niro film Heat.