Sartre uses the anecdote of a man he met in a German prison camp to demonstrate that people are responsible for the way they read “signs” in their environments and lives. The man went to Jesuit school, failed in a number of secular endeavors, and decided that those failures were proof that he ought to live as a Jesuit. Sartre asks why the man decided his failures signaled a religious calling; he could have seen these events as signaling anything at all, or as pointing to another path altogether, such as being a revolutionary or a carpenter. Therefore, interpreting a sign is a choice, not proof of fate.
The Jesuit in the Prison Camp Character Timeline in Existentialism Is a Humanism
The timeline below shows where the character The Jesuit in the Prison Camp appears in Existentialism Is a Humanism. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Existentialism Is a Humanism