What value does the carefully detailed portrait of Queenie add to the story "A&P"?
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The detailed portrait of Queenie adds value to the story because she is the object of Sammy's infatuation. The excessive detail characterizes Sammy's male teenage mind and helps the reader to see that his actions are based merely on empty, external observations rather than a true knowledge of the character of Queenie. Sammy makes a rash decision in the end that demonstrates his selfishness (his empty attraction to Queenie) rather than being a truly heroic gesture.
For one it serves to illustrate how authentic Sammy's point of view is as a young man watching Queenie walk in to the A&P with a bikini on and he ogles her up and down. Notice too how tenderly he handles to dollar she gives him from between her breasts to pay for her items. Furthermore, her description illustrates how high class she is - and how socially superior she is to Sammy and Lengel - how she carries herself, how she is the leader of her little entourage, how daintily she walks, even her purchase, pickled herring snacks for her parents' upscale cocktail party. These all reinforce how she comes from a totally different walk of life than the other characters in the story.
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