Take a story's temperature by studying its tone. Is it hopeful? Cynical? Snarky? Playful?
The narrator tells it like it is – or, at least, how he perceives it. And although his story could easily have degenerated into a sob story of racial injustice, anger, and hate, the narrator's frank and thoughtful tone allows for a more reflective edge to the story. It probably helps that he's telling his story from hibernation, allowing him to capture the truth to the moments in his life.