"thrust himself through the clinging underbrush, climbed the ascent, plunged into the hollow"
Body as landscape
Creative Commons AttributionBody as landscape - Credit: Acierman

With all this plunging and thrusting through suggestive topography, Dimmesdale's progress takes on a decidedly sexual nature. Part of his excitement, it seems, is erotic, and the “unaccustomed physical energy” he derives from it hints that his illness may be caused by the repression of this side of his nature as much as his guilt or Chillingworth's machinations.