All Quiet on the Western Front
How we cite our quotes:
When he sees that we cannot escape because under the sharp fire we must make the most of this cover, he takes a rifle, crawls out of the hole, and lying down propped on his elbows, he takes aim. He fires – the same moment a bullet smacks into him, they have got him. (11.47)
We don't see much of the company's commander over the course of the novel, but his final dying act is pretty remarkable. He doesn't die for his country per se, he dies protecting the lives of his men. The men seem to become tighter than family while in the trenches.
After a few minutes, I straighten myself up again. My legs and my hands tremble. I have trouble in finding my water bottle, to take a pull. My lips tremble as I try to drink. But I smile – Kat is saved. (11.85)
The tragedy here is that in Paul's trying to save his best friend, nearly sacrificing his own life to get his companion and mentor safely to medical help, the war still finds a way to kill Kat. We can't get over the cold words of the medical attendants, too. What does Paul have if he doesn't have his friends? What can he live for at this point?