Arcadia

The Apple and Its Leaf Symbol Analysis

The Apple and Its Leaf Symbol Icon
Like the tortoise, the apple exists both in the past and the present. In the present, Gus gives Hannah the apple. In the past, Septimus begins to eat it, and Thomasina declares her intention to write a formula that will describe the leaf. In the present once more, Valentine explains to Hannah that an iterated algorithm could describe the leaf’s general form, though not its exact shape. There are certain parameters of order in nature, within which disorder works out the specifics. The apple and leaf become a perfect example of how Thomasina brings together Enlightenment and Romantic thought. She loves math and geometry, but she applies those Enlightenment techniques to a very Romantic subject, namely natural forms. And she and Valentine show that both order (Enlightenment) and chaos (Romanticism) command the world.

The Apple and Its Leaf Quotes in Arcadia

The Arcadia quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Apple and Its Leaf. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Mathematics, Nature, and Fate Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Farrar, Strauss and Giroux edition of Arcadia published in 1994.
Act 1, Scene 3 Quotes

God’s truth, Septimus, if there is an equation for a curve like a bell, there must be an equation for one like a bluebell, and if a bluebell, why not a rose? Do we believe nature is written in numbers?

Related Characters: Thomasina Coverly (speaker), Septimus Hodge
Related Symbols: The Apple and Its Leaf
Page Number: 41
Explanation and Analysis:

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The Apple and Its Leaf Symbol Timeline in Arcadia

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Apple and Its Leaf appears in Arcadia. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 2
Sex and Love Theme Icon
...Hannah thinks Chloë is referring to Valentine, but then Gus enters, and offers Hannah an apple—it’s Gus, not Valentine, who may have feelings for Hannah. (full context)
Act 1, Scene 3
Academia and Education Theme Icon
Back in the 19th century, the tortoise, and Gus’s apple, remain on the table. Thomasina attempts to translate Latin. Septimus reads a letter to which... (full context)
Mathematics, Nature, and Fate Theme Icon
Academia and Education Theme Icon
...there must be an equation for one like a bluebell.” She picks up the discarded apple leaf and proclaims her intention to make an equation for its form. (full context)
Act 1, Scene 4
Mathematics, Nature, and Fate Theme Icon
Academia and Education Theme Icon
Hannah asks if Valentine might be able to draw the apple leaf using iteration. Valentine explains that iteration could roughly show you the shape of the... (full context)