The Anthropocene as Impasse: Optimism, cynicism, and the desire for justice in Indra Sinha’s Animal’s People
Keywords:optimism, cynicism, impasse, attachment, Animal’s People, Anthropocene
This paper reads Indra Sinha’s novel Animal’s People (2007) for its representation of the impasse that develops in the wake of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy (1984) as its victims wait endlessly for justice. I examine the narrative form that the impasse takes in the novel, detailing how the stagnancy and frustration of the impasse shape the novel’s narrative movement. I track the different negotiations between optimism and cynicism that shape people’s attachment to justice in the novel’s world. The tensions and correlations between these modes of cynicism and optimism serve to trace the affective and political contours of the impasse while offering a critique of the structural impossibilities of movement. I examine how two temporalities—the suspended time of the impasse and the toxic temporality of the poisons—intersect in the novel. At the intersection between the two is the impasse of the Anthropocene.
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