In my opinion this short story very vividly describes the consequences of excess egoism from the parentsÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ side, especially in an incomplete family (i.e. without a mother). I say excess, because parental egoism is unavoidable, and at some points even required. However, together with the lack of a certain family member happens a misbalance of administrative power in the family, which combined with (as in this case) excess paternal egoism, causes the concentration of all the decision-making power in the hands of an over-educated and under-experienced old gentleman. If so, then why did the two girls have different viewpoints then? Initially this is because of a rather more rebellious nature of Olive; another thing was that Olive was of higher priority and value to her father, what led her to conclude that no matter what, she would have his agreement and trust; and led her sister into becoming over-faithful because of the jealousy which she experienced.
As typical in such cases, Olivia, the unfaithful child made her decision and therefore was ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂexpelledÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ from the family, with her letters being ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂburnedÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ, thus ceasing communication. Just as typical are the actions of Sarah Ann, which, after having discovered that her only superior was out of the way, actively began proving her loyalty to her father. As for their father, he simply needed someone in the family to resemble his dead wife; at first Olive was best at this, so she was the favorite; but then she became someone elseÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂs wife, i.e. betrayed him. She had to be cast out, and her letters had to be burned. But some misdirected feelings made his keep the letters, even after Sarah Ann proved her faithfulness once again by giving him the letters. So Sarah Ann was the only suitable contestant for the substitute wifeÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂs place, therefore he wanted her to be with him, and only with him. Thus most probably spoiling her entire life, but nevertheless feeding his need for a companion.