Like many others, I read this book as part of my A-Level course. At first I thought Heathcliffe grossly inhumane and barbaric. But in literature the only way you can appreciate the novel is to 'walk in their skin'. With characters such as Heathcliffe you can only be extremely barbaric if you can experience extreme passion. Personally I think Heathcliffe and Cathy's love is too deep and too supernatural for most of us common readers to comprehend. He is an orphan with no family and no home. He feels rejected and piqued. He comes into a household who look down on him and he receives no mroal guidance. It is no wonder he turns out the way he did. I think we all have to compeltely abolish our prejudices and not think of social convention which does not accept physical beatings, and feel the way he did. I promise you, i did exactly this, I walked in Heathcliffe's shoes, I breathed the way he did and I acted the way he did. I was bitter for days on end. But like Heathcliffe I saw the superficiality of people who are represented by the Linton's and the result was I UNDERSTOOD HEATHCLIFFE! He is deep, probably as deep as Hamlet, although Hamlet was obviously much more rational. I am not condoning what Heathcliffe does in the novel but we must understand why he does it. He has no one to talk to and no one he considers a friend but Cathy. She is the only one he can rely on. But when she turn to NElly and says "it will degarade me to marry Heathcliffe" he immediately turns away from Wuthering Heights feeling betrayed, piqued, hurt and also very very angry. He would have thought that Cathy's time spent with him was all an act, and was only done because she herself needed someone to spend time with. This is why Heathcliffe runs away in the abrupt manner that he did. It was not a gross misuse of coincidence when Heathcliffe leaves before he hears Cathy say "Nelly I AM Heathcliffe", but it represents the anger and resentment that he holds for the superficial convention that surrounds Wuthering Heights. Bronte is not like Hardy where he over does the chance/Fate/destiny issue. SO MY MESSAGE TODAY IS DON'T BE PUT OFF BY HEATHCLIFFE AND CATHY'S BRUTALITY. IT IS MERELY AN INNER MANIFESTATION OF THEIR OWN GUILT AND HURT. IF HEATHCLIFFE WAS BORN INTO A WELL RESPECTED RATIONAL LIBERAL FAMILY, I CAN GUARANTEE YOU 9/10 HE WOULDN'T HAVE DONE THE THINGS HE DID. BUT THAT IS WHAT LITERATURE IS ALL ABOUT; TO EXPLORE THE UNEXPLORED. JUST TRY TO UNDERSTAND HIM, YOU DON'T HAVE TO AGREE WITH HIS DOCTRINE. IN CONSLUSION, THIS IS BY FAR THE MOST PASSIONATE LOVE STORY THAT I HAVE EVER READ. THE IMAGERY AND LANGUAGE IS NOT AS RICH AND DEEP AS THAT OF HARDY WHICH IS RICHLY EMBEDDED IN RELIGIOUS, PHYLOSOPHICAL, LITERAL AND MYTHOLOGICAL SYMBOLISM. BUT ON THE WHOLE, BRONTE'S CHARACTERISATION TECHNIQUES ARE BY FAR THE MOST VIVID I HAVE EVER READ. I WOULD GIVE THIS BOOK TEN OUT OF FIVE.