Waiting for Godot
by Samuel Beckett
Take a story's temperature by studying its tone. Is it hopeful? Cynical? Snarky? Playful?
Yes, both these adjectives are simultaneously possible. That’s why they call it a tragicomedy. But what’s interesting about the tone is that isn’t just bleak and comic; it’s bleak because it is comic, and it is comic because it is bleak. The common factor here is absurdity. Life is comic for the absurdity of turnips and carrots, but it is bleak because men waste away their days talking about…turnips and carrots.