The short story “Popular Girls” by Karen Shepard is structured as a self-portrait of a collective narrator—of five popular girls. The story is constructed using sarcasm, irony, and contrasts, and only loosely follows a traditional plot line. The story is not so much about the action, as it is meant to be read as a sarcastic portrait of rich, popular girls from the upper class in New York.
The title “Popular Girls” refers to the five main characters in the short story who function as a collective narrator. The title points to the way in which the author explores and describes the lives of rich, popular teenage girls in 1980s American society. It reflects the detailed description of the lives of these popular girls that the narration conveys, and tells readers that the story is character-focused.
However, because the story is filled with sarcasm and irony targeting this collective narrator, the title itself is ironic. What the story shows is not the enviable life of the girls, but the opposite; their shallowness, their sad famil...