In Animal Farm, what do the pigs sleeping in the beds represent?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 6, the pigs move into Mr. Jones's home, and rumors begin to circulate that the pigs have been sleeping in Mr. Jones's bed. Disturbed, Clover thinks she remembers one of the Seven Commandments forbids animals from sleeping in beds. When Muriel reads the Fourth Commandment, it says, "No animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets" (Orwell 27). Squealer goes on to explain that it is perfectly okay for animals to sleep in beds, but the rule actually forbids animals from using sheets, which are a human invention. Squealer then explains it is essential for pigs to sleep in comfortable beds because they need rest to do all the "brainwork" needed to run Animal Farm. After hearing Squealer's explanation, the animals passively accept the Fourth Commandment and feel reassured.

The pigs sleeping in Mr. Jones's beds represents the pigs' lazy personalities, ongoing corruption, and creation of a widening inequality gap on the farm. Unlike the other animals on the farm who have to sleep outside or on bales of hay, the pigs sleep lavishly and comfortably inside the farmhouse. Orwell is depicting how the lower class is forced to suffer while the upper class lives in luxury. With the addition of "with sheets" written into the Fourth Commandment, Orwell portrays how language can be manipulated to benefit the ruling class. Beds are also associated with rest, and Orwell is suggesting the pigs are lazy. The pigs sleeping in Mr. Jones's bed represents their lethargic personalities that contrast with the work ethic of the other farm animals.