The character who has the most positive influence upon Esperanza is her neighbor Alicia, a college student who — by the end of the book — seems to have become Esperanza's good friend. Perhaps surprisingly, Alicia is less well developed as a character than Sally or even Marin. All we know of her is that she has lived in the neighborhood for a while, that she is the daughter of a traditional widowed Latino father (meaning she is expected to do all the housework), that she lives in a run-down apartment (meaning her father goes to work, comes home, and does little else), and that despite being terribly busy and tired, Alicia makes time to talk with a 12- or 13-year-old neighbor girl, Esperanza.
From this small store of information, then, we can deduce something of Alicia's character: She is strong, determined, ambitious. She knows what Esperanza spends the period of this book finding out: that the traditional role for a woman — little education, early marriage and children — is all too often a trap lined with unhappiness. And she is kindhearted and wise enough to recognize a kindred spirit in Esperanza. Perhaps the reason Esperanza says so little about Alicia is that she too recognizes this likeness and extends her own somewhat secretive minimalism to this sensitive, tough-hearted young woman, an older version of herself.