The Chambered Nautilus (N. Pompilius, Linn.) is the symbolic representation of the growth process which occurs in the development of character. In contrast to the occupants of "ordinary shells," whose bodies fill the entire shell cavity,
- The animal of the nautilus uses only a small portion of the shell or outer chamber, and builds pearly partitions behind its body as it increases in size, although a slender fleshy cord extends from the body through all the partitions, thus forming an anchor or mooring to the shell (Verrill, 1936, p. 150).
The growth process of the nautilus and the Sierra Project conception of growth in the development of character are the leaving of the last year for the new, no longer being the person one was before, and the expectation that the next conception of life will be "nobler than the last."