The House on Mango Street
by Sandra Cisneros
Alicia is an older girl in the neighborhood who studies at the university. Alicia's mother died, and Alicia is forced to take up many of the chores that her mama used to do, like making the tortillas for the family in the morning. She works hard at school in order to make a better life for herself than the one her mother had. Esperanza considers her to be very brave, despite her fear of the rats that infest her family's apartment. Alicia serves as a role model and friend to Esperanza – she's the one in whom Esperanza confides her feelings of un-belongingness, and who makes Esperanza see that she has a responsibility to her home and community.