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This essay analyzes how Indra Sinha, in his 2007 novel, Animal’s People, uses the allegorical figure of the protagonist Animal to address the human rights tragedies that resulted from a disastrous gas leak from an American-owned pesticide factory in Bhopal, India, in 1984. By refusing corrective surgery offered by American benefactors for the spinal deformation he suffers as a result of the disaster, Animal insists on remaining an allegorical symbol of the systemic human rights abuses that are produced by neoliberal policies. Representing what this essay terms “melancholic citizenship,” Animal chooses to be a melancholic emblem of the failure of his citizenship to secure his human rights.

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