Ah yes, the green-eyed monster in all of us. Sure, Sara has a lot going for her at the beginning of A Little Princess, but most people are happy for her—except, of course, for a select few. Two people who are so jealous of her that they just can't stand it (cue some foot-stomping and high-pitched screaming) are Miss Minchin herself and Lavinia. Miss Minchin hates that Sara can speak French and that she's so rich and smart. (Very mature of her, we know.) And Lavinia was top dog at the school until Sara got there, so she obviously hates Sara. And guess what happens to these two ladies? (Hint: they don't get diamond mines.)
Jealous and pettiness stunt the emotional lives of Lavinia and Miss Minchin.
By not comparing her circumstances to her peers and feeling sorry for herself, Sara stays sane and hopeful despite her miserable circumstances.