All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

All Quiet on the Western Front book cover
Start Your Free Trial

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

Expert Answers info

rrteacher eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2011

write5,475 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

The irony at the end of All Quiet on the Western Front is that Paul, the main character and narrator of the book, is killed right before the end of the war. The title of the book is derived from this irony--there was so little going on that day. Paul's death, then, is ironic because it occurs before the outbreak of peace. But it also underscores a key point that Remarque is attempting to make. Paul has died for absolutely no reason. His death is a total waste. But this was equally true of the millions of other young men that died in this war. Their deaths were also for nothing. The futility of Paul's sacrifice is especially marked because of its timing, and he joins the ranks of his friends who also died for seemingly nothing.

Further Reading:
check Approved by eNotes Editorial
teachertaylor eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2010

write1,505 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

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.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial