| Quote #1
I want to thank you personally for my happy childhood. (1.4)
This line just screams irony. We know that Sasha is very naive (if you haven't already done so, go check out the "Character" section on Sasha); he completely buys into the narrative that Stalin is the Greatest Man in the History of the World, and that the USSR is a perfect place to live. But as the novel progresses and we learn more about this society and how Sasha has grown up, we are smacked in the face with the fact that his childhood's been anything but happy. After all, there is that whole suspicious motherless situation. And his dad's just been arrested (thanks to Stalin).
| Quote #2
I wake up in the middle of the night, worried. Why did he say "Anything ever happens to me, go to Aunt Larisa"? I don't understand. What could happen to him? (5.1)
Sasha seems to be finally buying his ticket for the Grow Up Train. He's still naive (because he can't imagine anything happening to his dad, ever), but something's starting to bother him. He's starting to wonder, which is the first step toward thinking for yourself.
| Quote #3
It all happens so quickly, I don't even know yet how I feel about sharing our room with [Stukachov's family]. I start to walk in, but Stukachov blocks the door. I reach for the door handle, but his hand is clutching it. He leans in close. "Your daddy's been arrested," he says. "There's no room for you here." (6.5)
We kind of get the impression that Sasha's grown up in a pretty privileged place. Sure, his apartment is pretty small, and he shares it with forty-six other people. But in a big way, since his dad's an agent for the State Security, he's been sheltered from the type of hardship he's now starting to face. It's a major rude awakening for him (literally, too) when he's crowded out of his own apartment and has to hit the streets.