Study Guide

Evangeline Love

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Love

The rockers from Nazareth were right, y'all: "Love Hurts". Just ask Evangeline and Gabriel. One minute, you're about to embark on a lifetime of wedded bliss, and then the next, you're viciously torn about by the whims of colonial politics—bad times. All the same, we get a glimpse in "Evangeline" of the true power of love. It sustains her throughout years of hardship, and it never wavers. Sure, it's not like E. and G. ride off into the sunset together, but we're still left in awe of the way their connection remains strong throughout these 1400-plus lines.

Questions About Love

  1. How does love serve to motivate Evangeline in this poem?
  2. Besides Gabriel, who else loves Evangeline? Who else does she love? How can you tell?
  3. Is Evangeline in love, or is she obsessed? How do you know? How might the speaker answer that question?
  4. Do you see any other examples of successful (fulfilled) love in "Evangeline"? If so, where?

Chew on This

This poem shows us that love is the most powerful human motivator (stronger even than free cookies).

Sure, it sounds sweet, but Evangeline doesn't really love Gabriel. She loves what he represents (the good old days back in Acadia).