I was the fifth of seven children (two others died as infants) and always knew who my mom loved most. It wasn't that she didn't love me - she did, it's just that she cherished three of my other sisters. It showed in the way she spoke to and treated them by comparison with me. It hurt - still hurts despite the fact she died 11 years ago.
In "Halifax" Mrs. Hurley favors Ellie's older sister, Carrie, constantly comparing Ellie unfavorably to her beautiful and more accomplished first-born. As a result, Ellie's self-esteem suffers mightily. I, too, suffered from a lack of self-esteem and sometimes wonder if it stems from the favoritism I perceived in our family growing up.
The other side of the coin is those who were favored. Were you treated differently? Perhaps you were the victim of jealousy and unable to forge close bonds with those less fortunate.
It's a complex topic when you think about it. Now I ask you which sounds more like you growing up: Carrie the child doted on - or Eleanor, other one loved but not cherished? Or perhaps you're a parent or teacher trying to hide your feelings for a child who is the apple of your eye. Want to share how you handle it?