"Popular girls" is a short story from 2001 by Karen Shephard. She is born and raised in New York and her work has been published in several papers. The short-story sets in the early 80's where we get some insight in the life of five rich and popular girls. They are self-centered and don't have the slightest interest in other people. Their entire life is about maintaining their image as a group. The setting is New York, which is the riches city in the US. The city is also known as The big Apple and The city that never sleeps. This reflects in the mentality of these girls. They do speed, and not weed, because they want to get through school as fast as possible. They want to live life in the fast-lane and do extravagant things.
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Even though they define themselves as a group, Stephanie seems to be the leader, as she is described as a slightly more individual person: ”We're Kaethe and Alina, CJ and Sydney. Stephanie.”(p.1, l.1) here she is singled out as their frontline figure. Stephanie is the tallest and also in the center of their ”geese-formation”. She also dictates the idea of wearing these special rings, which they all obey. The girls have this special bond that consists of a strong ”friendship”, but probably because they can't see a way out. Without the rest of the pack, they would feel hopeless. None of them dares to leave anyone behind. The ending is a picture of their ”friendship” whilst they perform as a group, they also make a performance for each other. No one knows them, not even their family and not even their own clique. They put on a performance of their popularity, even for their friends. Somehow, without words, they push each other to do things that are considered “cool”. But none of them knows when to stop. “Whatever happens will be performed in front of the group. We ask ourselves weather we can actually do this; (…)We are uneasy. Nothing about this whole thing will be graceful. No one is leaving”(p.8 l.198-201) none of the girls wants to be the one chickening-out, no one want’s to be the one leaving the rest behind. Leaving now would be a kind of betrayal or a sign of weakness. Their obsession of being popular and someone important is a postmodern theme, also seen