Popular Girls

This study guide will help you analyze the text “Popular Girls” by Karen Shepard. We will show you examples of elements in the text that will be relevant for your analysis. In these notes, we will focus on the summary, structure, characters, setting, narrator and point of view, language, theme and message, and help you put the text in perspective.

Presentation of the text

Title: “Popular Girls”
Author: Karen Shepard
Published in: The Atlantic
Date of Publication: 2001
Genre: Short story

Karen Shepard is a Chinese-American author of novels and short stories. Most of her short fiction has been published in American literary magazines. She is also a college professor and is married to another novelist, Jim Shepard.


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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.

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Popular Girls

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