The God of Small Things
How we cite our quotes:
By then Esthappen and Rahel had learned that the world had other ways of breaking men. They were already familiar with the smell. Sicksweet. Like old roses on a breeze. (1.39)
The loss of innocence is central to the plot of the novel, and we see a hint of it here. Carefree children don't know anything about how the world "breaks men," but kids who have been through a major ordeal do.
When they left the police station Ammu was crying, so Estha and Rahel didn't ask her what veshya meant. Or, for that matter, illegitimate. It was the first time they'd seen their mother cry. (1.58)
Here we see a mingling of innocence and the loss of it. Estha and Rahel don't know exactly what these hurtful words hurled at Ammu mean (veshya means prostitute), which shows that they still live with some sense of innocence. Still, the first time you see your mom cry is a big deal and can change the way you view the world. You realize your parents are fragile just like everyone else.
When the twins asked what cuff-links were for – "To link cuffs together," Ammu told them – they were thrilled by this morsel of logic in what had so far seemed an illogical language. Cuff + link = cuff-link. This, to them, rivaled the precision and logic of mathematics. (2.87)
The book is full of great tidbits like these, where we get to see the world through the eyes of a child. We watch as they start to understand the world, in serious ways and in silly ones like this.