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: 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?
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
Act 1, Scene 3
Act 1, Scene 4