Esperanza tells Alicia that the house on Mango Street is not truly her house. After a year in the house, she still feels as though she does not belong. Alicia, however, insists: "Like it or not you are Mango Street, and one day you'll come back too." Esperanza says she will not, until someone makes it better. "Who's going to do it?" asks Alicia. "The mayor?" Esperanza laughs: "Not the mayor."
This short scene echoes much of the language and themes of the previous one ("The Three Sisters"), further developing the potential for Esperanza's return to Mango Street. The new note that the scene introduces is the possibility that Esperanza can somehow make the Mango Street community better. Just as one cannot allow or wait for other people to define one's own identity, Esperanza and Alicia know that they cannot wait for "the mayor" or any outside (and, significantly, traditionally male) authority to improve their community. That responsibility rests with them, and the novel's conclusion, which shortly follows this scene, indicates that Esperanza's part in making the community better is to tell its story. Again, Cisneros is alerting her readers to the potential power of narrative.
The House on Mango Street: Novel Summary: Alicia & I Talking on Edna's Steps