"Postcard from a Travel Snob" by Sophie Hannah

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The poem “Postcard From A Travel Snob” Is Written By Sophie Hannah who is a British novelist and poet. The poem depicts the persona writing a postcard to the recipient of the postcard whom the persona thinks she is superior. The persona in the poem is portrayed as a “travel snob”. A snob usually refers to a person with high social position and looks down on those regarded as socially inferior. The poem is amusing as it displays of just how “stuck up” the persona comes across, shredding the people’s thoughts and feelings who enjoy the package holidays that the persona particularly has a disdain for. The persona is characterized through the rich use of literary devices such as rhymes and enjambment which enhances the speech-like impression. It is elucidated as an reflection on the perspective of upper classes on their lower counterparts thus under the surface, the classes are divided and treated differently.

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As seen from the title of the poem, the letters “P”, “T”, and “S” have been capitalised, as it creates great emphasis on these words, Postcard, Travel and Snob. The word Postcard is dominant as the first line, “I do not wish anyone were here” delineates the negativity of attitude in the persona, a parody of the usual greetings in postcards. The other two words Travel and Snob are crucial in displaying the persona’s attitude towards travelling and holidays. Therefore, these words link back to the main message of the poem that snobbiness associated with different types of holidays determines one’s social status. Thus, the title of the poem is presented in a way that one is able to understand what is going to happen in the poem, creating a foreshadowing effect. It is separated into four separate stanzas each of four lines. This creates a dramatic effect and reiterates snobbish attitude within the poem. The poet makes use of strong words, alliteration, rich language and enjambment to exhibit the persona’s attitude and feelings towards travel holidays. At the start of the poem the poet uses inversion in “ I do not wish anyone were here” to change the usual greeting of postcards to one which is much more negative and socially exclusive. Pretentious words “wine connoisseurs” and “Anthropologist” shows that the persona reveals her superiority. The use of strong and negative word “not” in the first stanza shows that she is deprecating of the typical middle class holidays with “karaoke nights, and pints of beer”. “Perish the thoughts” is a strong middle class vernacular which shows her as someone who is creating class divisions which backs up her snobbish character. “drunken tourist types” is an embedment of harsh alliteration of the letter ‘t’.

The alliteration increases the sneer, as does the word “types” sounds derogatory as if the persona see all tourists as the lower class people, expressing her superiority. Alliteration is also utilized in the third stanza “sun- sangria- two-weeks- small- minded- package- philistine- abroad,” through the repetition of the letter ‘p’ and ‘s’ which is used to delineate her indignation towards typical holidays. The use of enjambment is prominent. “There’s not a guest house or a hotel within a hundred miles” which enhances the dramatic monologue effect. The last stanza (line 13-16) has significant impact on me, as it is condescending with the speaker looking down on her inferior readers. The speaker compares herself to ordinary tourists. When the persona’s friends who are of higher social status drink, “your friends become wine connoisseurs, not drunks.” Meanwhile, tourists who are the lower class have friends who would be considered drunks.

Therefore, it leads back to the key message of the poem that social status causes the difference in the classes and in this case, holidays are a part of it. Sophie Hannah presents the persona to the readers by creating a snobbish person through the evident use of inversion and contrasting rich language. The idea of social exclusivity is furthered through the use of contrasting language to describe the typical package holiday in comparison to the persona’s ideal holiday. This is achieved by contrasting the negative noun “drunks” to describe the lower class with the more positive noun “connoisseurs” to describe the upper class- the persona and her friends. Thus, readers would view this as the persona trying to create a artificial class difference based on her snobbish thoughts. In conclusion, throughout most of the poem, Hannah employs parallelism in order to differentiate between the speaker and people of lower classes. This poem showcases the harsh reality on separation of people into different classes. The poem uses various literary devices to bring out the message of travelling is also a factor to differentiate people as travel is not accessible to all and superiority is present within the people who are able to travel. Therefore, the poet conveys the persona’s views on travelling.z

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