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The Diary of Ophelia[,] Lovelorn Girl

The Diary of Ophelia[,] Lovelorn Girl

By Miss Marm

Today's Sparkler has comma problems (among other issues). Hey, who doesn't, right?

Take a look at the original paragraph:

Dear diary, today upon leaving Laertes gave me advice in regards to Hamlet. He told me that Hamlet was not to be trusted that his affections will not last. He told me not to have high hopes, for Hamlet is a prince and he has a reputation to keep. While, I was thinking about my brothers advice my father comes and gives Laertes his final farewell. Oh, how I will miss my brother dearly but I suppose he has better things to do in Paris, he loves it there. Before he leaves Laertes warns me one last time about Hamlet. My father agrees with Laertes reminding me that I should not spend time alone with Hamlet that it will give me a bad reputation. Sometimes, I wonder if father only thinks about what other people think. I tell my father that I do not know what to believe in regards to Hamlets affection. Father says that because Hamlet is young and is not really in love but will say anything to get what he wants. Father tells me to follow his advice and stay away from Hamlet and completely ignore him. I agree, what else can I say. There are times when I wish mother was still alive to talk to me, I love my father and brother but they do not take in regard of my feelings but only of what people would think. I wish my mother would braid my hair and I would tell of all the things Hamlet has told me about his feelings also I would share my inner secrets with her such as that I love Hamlet or what I am scared to do. I am scared to push Hamlet away with what father is telling me to do. I will only hope that it will turn out okay. At least, I can be thankful for you diary.

We've got lots of grammar problems going on. Here are my notes and edits:

Dear diary, [start a new paragraph here] today[,] upon leaving[,] ["upon" isn't the most accurate word choice here] Laertes gave me advice in regards to Hamlet. He told me that Hamlet was not to be trusted [run-on] that his affections will not last. He told me not to have high hopes, for Hamlet is a prince and he has a reputation to keep. While, [don't need this comma] I was thinking about my brothers advice my father comes and gives [why have we switched to present tense? stay in the past] Laertes his final farewell. Oh, how I will miss my brother dearly but I suppose he has better things to do in Paris, [comma splice] he loves it there. Before he leaves[,] Laertes warns me one last time about Hamlet. My father agrees with Laertes[,] reminding me that I should not spend time alone with Hamlet[,] that it will give me a bad reputation. Sometimes, [don't need this comma] I wonder if father [should be "Father" (capped), because you're using the word as a proper noun] only thinks about what other people think. I tell my father that I do not know what to believe in regards to [don't use a phrase like "in regards to" more than once per paragraph] Hamlet[']s affection. Father says that because Hamlet is young and is not really in love but will say anything to get what he wants [this is a fragment because of the phrase "that because." If you read the sentence out loud, you'll hear how you're leaving us hanging.]. Father tells me to follow his advice and stay away from Hamlet and completely ignore him. I agree, [comma splice] what else can I say. [need a question mark here] There are times when I wish mother was [were] still alive to talk to me, [comma splice] I love my father and brother[,] but they do not take in regard ["take in regard" isn't idiomatic] of my feelings but only of what people would think. I wish my mother would braid my hair [confusing--sounds like her mother is still alive] and I would tell of all the things Hamlet has told me about his feelings [run-on. Also, don't use the word "feelings" again] also I would share my inner secrets with her such as that I love Hamlet or what I am scared to do [non-parallel construction]. I am scared to push Hamlet away with ["with" isn't the most accurate word here] what father is telling me to do. I will only hope that it will turn out okay ["okay" seems a little too casual for this context]. At least, [don't need this comma] I can be thankful for you[,] diary.

Here's how I might rework:

Dear diary,

Today, before leaving, Laertes gave me advice about Hamlet. He told me that Hamlet was not to be trusted, and that his affections will not last. He said I should not have high hopes about marrying Hamlet, since Hamlet is a prince and has a reputation to keep. While I was thinking about this advice, my father came to say goodbye to Laertes. Oh, how I will miss my brother. But I suppose he has better things to do in Paris; he loves it there. Before he left, Laertes warned me one last time about Hamlet. My father agreed, reminding me that I should not spend time alone with Hamlet, since doing so will give me a bad reputation. Sometimes I wonder if Father only cares about what other people think. I told him I did not know what to believe about Hamlet. He said that because Hamlet is young and not really in love with me, he will say anything to get what he wants. He told me to follow his advice by staying away from Hamlet and completely ignoring him. I agreed; what else could I say?

There are times when I wish mother were still alive to talk to me. I love my father and brother, but they do not consider my feelings. All that concerns them is what people will think. If my mother were here, she would braid my hair while I told her of all the things Hamlet has said to me about his emotions. I would share my inner secrets with her; I would tell her that I love Hamlet or that I am afraid. I am scared to push Hamlet away by doing what Father is telling me to do. I only hope that everything will turn out well. At least I can be thankful for you, diary.

Yes, this Sparkler needs to work on her grammar, but I think she's done a great job with this assignment. She's grasped the plot of Ophelia's story, and her empathy for the doomed character has helped her write a diary entry that's emotional without being cheesy. I'm especially moved by the line about Ophelia's mother braiding her hair. Good work!

I can answer one email per day. Will it be yours? Send your questions to missmarm@sparknotes.com.

Topics: hamlet, ophelia, comma splices, commas
 

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