Barrington Bayley died last year, in my opinion the most under-rated and under-appreciated sci-fi author of all time. Just about every novel he wrote should be considered a classic, so it's hard to say this is one of his best--but it's one of his best.
In a far future, after the fall of a great civilization, technology has climbed back to a more-or-less 20th century level, except for the science of robotics which somehow survived and even advanced. A lone robotician, working in the artisanal style of the age with only the help of his wife, discovers an arcane, almost alchemical procedure whereby human souls (described as an 'immaterial material') can be transferred into a robot of sufficient complexity. The childless couple thereby decide to each transfer a portion of their soul into his latest and finest creation, the robot Jasperodus, thus engendering a son. Like all children, Jasperodus lacks gratitude. Upon awakening he takes one look at the shy, lonely, pleading expressions on the faces of his parents, laughs, and strides out the door to meet his fortune, dashing their hopes for a companion in their old age.
Jasperodus doesn't know, however, that because of his uniqueness he is doomed to suffer. The only robot on earth with a genuine soul (his father kept the technique of soul transference secret lest robots learn of it and enslave humanity) his protestations of being a sentient, self-determining being are met with universal dismissal. (In fact, he eventually learns that robot sentience had been mathematically proven to be an impossibility.)
Soon after leaving home, he is impounded by authorities and taken to a courtroom to establish his ownership. When he declares he has no owner, he is confiscated as chattel and assigned to a local landholder. He responds with one of my two favorite lines in the book: "Your legal proceedings are based upon a mistaken premise, namely that I am an object. On the contrary. I am a sentient being." (A sentiment that could well be expressed by anyone with handcuffs on their wrists.)
Tormented by what he believes is a programmed-in conviction of his own self-awareness--'an aberrant self-image' in the words of the court-appointed robotician--our embittered protagonist decides that even if he doesn't have a soul and his self-awareness is just an illusion, he will fight to assert himself in, and do his utmost to mold and even master, the human world around him.
Anyone who can't see the allegorical depths of this story shouldn't bother to read it. It is a brilliant examination of alienation in a secular world and has much to say to anyone who has ever felt that society was treating them like an object. The simple, straightforward, almost 'young-adult' level of the writing just makes it that much more of an intellectual achievement.