The Clique and Vanity Fair

The Clique Series is an American young adult novel series about five middle school girls. The first book was released in 2004 and became a movie in 2008. Since then there have been 20 more books published: 14 in the original series, 5 ‘summer series’ books, and Cliquetionary (for the enormous amount of teen slang used). The main plot of the story revolves around three popular middle school girls, their alpha (Massie), and an outsider that’s trying to fit in, Claire. Claire is of a middle class family who lives in Massie’s families guest house, while the girls in the clique come from upper class families.

I thought of “The Clique” when reading Chapter 9 of “Little Women”, Meg Goes to Vanity Fair because I saw many similarities between the main characters of each book, Meg (Little Women) and Claire (The Clique).  One of the main commonalities between them can be seen in terms of our keyword “Class”. As we discussed in lecture there are two main meanings to class: the status model and the economic model. These two models are somewhat connected because status often involves material possessions that can only be obtained by having money. Both girls in these books come from middle class families based on the economic model, but find ways to fit into a higher social position by borrowing material possessions, mostly clothing, from their upper class friends. I think it is interesting that the main message from both of these books is that it’s not always greener on the other side, despite what we might think. This reminded me of the keyword “Children’s Literature” because these books were written by adults for children, which made me wonder if one of the intentions of these authors was to teach children to be satisfied with what they have?

2 thoughts on “The Clique and Vanity Fair”

  1. I think your connection to the Clique series is really interesting because during the time the series was releasing books, I was around elementary school age and it had a huge influence in my life at the time as well as my friends lives. The series was definitely the most popular books for young girls at the time. I have a vivid memory of my friends and I pretending to be the characters during recess and it was a massive deal figuring out who got to be who. It’s a good point to bring up Claire’s obvious difference from the 0ther girls in the series because it was definitely obvious to the young girls consuming the series. When my friends and I would pretend to be the characters I remember nobody ever wanted to be Claire because from our perspective she was not as cool as the other characters in the book. Looking back at the series now I would admire Claire for putting up with all of the snarky comments the other girls made towards her class. I think the author did intend to teach young girls a lesson for appreciating what they have, however, for many young girls this message will unfortunately go over their heads if they do not really consider this.

  2. Paige, I remember reading some of “The Clique” books when I was younger and I definitely see how you could relate it together with this chapter in “Little Women”. I believe that the status and economic model are indeed related to each other. When talking about this topic, I think of how Jenny Humphry pretends to be rich to fit in with the upper class girls at her school in the first seaon of “Gossip Girl”. I like how you ended your post, I think that a big reason authors write scenes like these into books, or tv shows, is to teach their younger audience a lesson that pretending to be something you’re not never works out well.

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