This is a cruel view of the world. It’s in stark contrast to the Austen I’ve read, wherein the lower classes seem happy in their state and the upper classes are where the real drama is. Heathcliff is resentful (rightfully so) of the way he was treated, and that eventually turned him into a monster. Everyone is weak, sanctimonious, cruel or some combination thereof. I found its view of human nature compelling. I was a little hesitant about how mean the book is until I realized it was essentially a psychological horror novel wrapped in a gothic melodrama. Once that clicked, I was able to enjoy the book for his oppressive atmosphere and its takedown of the society of the day. Where Pride and Prejudice gently mocks (which I enjoy), this swings a sledgehammer.
After Moby Dick and Middlemarch, this is probably my favorite among the (admittedly few) 19th Century novels I’ve read. I wish there were more Emily Bronte novels to read.