Post-Humanitarian Fictions

Post-Humanitarian Fictions JULIETTA SINGH Indra Sinha's novel Animal's People (2009) is a thinly veiled account of the 1984 Union Carbide Disaster and its aftermath in Bhopal, India. Set in the fictional city of Khaufpur (literally translated from Urdu as "place of terror"), the novel is narrated through Animal, now a teenaged boy who survived the disaster as an infant but whose exposure has resulted in a twisted spine which necessitates that he walks on all fours. Animal thus literally embodies the disaster, which has structurally transformed him from human to animal. Animal's birth name has been long forgotten and he comes to embrace the "inhumanity" signaled by his nickname. At times, however, he clearly vacillates between a desire to be a free animal -- a being without a "master"-- and a desire to be a virile human male (Sinha 2009, 342). This ambivalence is crystalized in the novel through the tensions between Animal's sex (his corporeal frame exposes his well-endowed genitalia to public view) and his hetero-masculinist sexuality through which he desires deeply to penetrate (at times violently) a human female body. Thus while his body marks him as "animal," his identification with a particular form of heterosexual masculinity also http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png symploke University of Nebraska Press

Post-Humanitarian Fictions

symploke, Volume 23 (1) – Dec 31, 2015

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Publisher
University of Nebraska Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 symploke.
ISSN
1534-0627
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

JULIETTA SINGH Indra Sinha's novel Animal's People (2009) is a thinly veiled account of the 1984 Union Carbide Disaster and its aftermath in Bhopal, India. Set in the fictional city of Khaufpur (literally translated from Urdu as "place of terror"), the novel is narrated through Animal, now a teenaged boy who survived the disaster as an infant but whose exposure has resulted in a twisted spine which necessitates that he walks on all fours. Animal thus literally embodies the disaster, which has structurally transformed him from human to animal. Animal's birth name has been long forgotten and he comes to embrace the "inhumanity" signaled by his nickname. At times, however, he clearly vacillates between a desire to be a free animal -- a being without a "master"-- and a desire to be a virile human male (Sinha 2009, 342). This ambivalence is crystalized in the novel through the tensions between Animal's sex (his corporeal frame exposes his well-endowed genitalia to public view) and his hetero-masculinist sexuality through which he desires deeply to penetrate (at times violently) a human female body. Thus while his body marks him as "animal," his identification with a particular form of heterosexual masculinity also

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symplokeUniversity of Nebraska Press

Published: Dec 31, 2015

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