What is ironic, or dramatically unexpected, about the ending of All Quiet on the Western Front?

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teachertaylor | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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The irony of the ending of All Quiet on the Western Front occurs when Paul dies literally days before the end of the war is declared.  Paul has been in the war nearly from the beginning, and he has survived a host of battles on the front line even while seeing many of his fellow soldiers die.  Throughout the novel, Paul slowly loses his hope that he will ever get out of the war alive, and he begins to think that even if he does survive, he will not fit back into the normal routine of his community back home.  But Paul survives, and just days before the war ends, he is killed.  The novel ends with his death, displaying irony.

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