So maybe the term “optimism”, the way I’m going to be using it, should be tweaked. I don’t mean someone who’s ALWAYS happy or ALWAYS sees a positive outcome at the end of the road, but someone who generally has a positive attitude and sees the good in people even when they may not be so good. How do you tell if you are optimistic? Reading of course! You will know when you read a book about a character who has a multi-personality and murders a woman or two (coughcough Crime and Punishment cough), but in the end is redeemed;you will know because you will not be bashing this character like everyone else who read the book. He only made one mistake. Then you will go on to write an extremely cheery and hopeful essay about how the character deserved to be redeemed and how everyone deserves a second chance. You may also know you are “optimistic”– sort of– when you read a story set in a time period coinciding with a brutal war, many people die a horrendous death, and you STILL adore the book because it had one tiny semi-uplifting part and so, on your opinion, didn’t end completely bad. Lastly, you can tell when you read a story and events keep getting worse and worse. But, no matter how close the story comes to having a tragic ending, as you approach the last couple chapters and the foreshadowing radiates sorrow like the sun radiates heat, you can’t help but tell yourself it will end well.