73 pages 2 hours read

Indra Sinha

Animal's People

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2007

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Character Analysis

Animal

Animal, a 19-year-old Khaufpuri boy, is the protagonist and narrator of Animal’s People. His bent frame, which forces him to walk on all fours, is a metaphor for the weight the entire community suffers as they endure the lingering effects of “that night.” Though Animal identifies as an animal by choice, the title of the novel suggests the dehumanization of his people.

Animal explains that he identifies as an animal because he’s treated as one and because he feels like an animal. Though he repeatedly insists he is not a man, it becomes clear that his refusal to accept his humanity is at least in part a defense against rejection by the human world. Farouq accuses him of living as an animal so as to exempt himself from human rules, and indeed, at times, Animal uses his animal identity to excuse violence or anger. However, Animal largely feels that the human world is incapable of accommodating him, telling us in Tape 1, “The world of humans is meant to be viewed from eye level” (2). His loathing of hope is the clearest indication that his animal identity helps stave off disappointment. He frequently describes how he “despises” (78) hope, calling standing upright his first “impossible wish” (75).

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