Study Guide

Evangeline Tough-o-Meter

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Tough-o-Meter

(4) Base Camp

The biggest challenge of this poem is its sheer length. We have to admit, getting 1400 lines dropped in your lap may seem like a huge mountain to climb. But, once you get going, there's no tricky syntax and very little vocabulary to slow you down. Sure, it helps to know your Bible, but our "Shout Outs" section has you covered. Just keep on trucking, and you'll find that the going gets easier as you read. In fact, Longfellow wanted to make this poem as readable as possible. He once said "'Evangeline' is so easy for you to read because it was so hard for me to write" (Source.) So yeah—there's no need to thank him or anything. Henry W. was just doing his job.