Study Guide

Cuffy Meigs in Atlas Shrugged

By Ayn Rand

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Cuffy Meigs

And confronting her daily there was the final product of it all, the heir and collector – Cuffy Meigs, the man impervious to thought. Cuffy Meigs strode through the offices of Taggart Transcontinental, wearing a semi-military tunic and slapping a shiny leather briefcase against his shiny leather leggings. He carried an automatic pistol in one pocket and a rabbit's foot in the other. (

That's the best character sum-up in the whole book. Cuffy truly is the logical, inevitable end result of the type of government that's in power. As the looters began to pass increasingly restrictive laws and using increasing force, for a Cuffy Meigs to gain a position of power was the next logical step.

He is basically a thug, a would-be gangster. And in a government that operates on corruption, backstabbing, and illegal activity, it stands to reason that a criminal would move up the ranks swiftly. Cuffy is no ideologue, and he seems to find James ridiculous. He's always yelling at him and calling him "Jimmy." Cuffy is disrespectful and ready to knock heads together, and the other looters seem scared of him:

He spoke little, but when he did it was to snap decisively, with a contemptuous grin, "Pipe down, Jimmy!" or "Nuts, Wes, you're talking through your hat!" (

Seeming to tire of the ideological crowd, he stages his own coup of Project X, the pinnacle of the government's ideas on force and control. Cuffy of course doesn't know how to operate the machine, and in a fit of stubbornness he blows up the entire facility, killing himself and everyone else in a hundred-mile radius. This is a rather fitting legacy for a person who seemed to appreciate, and even long for, violence.

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