Take a story's temperature by studying its tone. Is it hopeful? Cynical? Snarky? Playful?
The novel focuses on characters in incredibly dark and difficult situations. And just like how Death, the story's narrator, is hoping to "to prove to [himself] that you, and your human existence, are worth it" (4.33), the novel seems to be looking for glimmers of hope.
The characters of the novel do despair, but always manage to rise again with renewed courage. The novel makes us want to believe that humans can grow, learn, and change. Yet, the tone admits that a world without the fear and hatred that led to the Holocaust may be a long way off. Even so, the novel seems to hope to inspire readers to take a stand against injustice whenever opportunities to do present themselves.