Camus and his philosopher buddies were definitely interested in matters of time: how to understand it, how to think about it, and most importantly what to do with it. The Plague urges all of us to be aware, at all times, of time and its passing. It doesn’t so much matter what with do with our time as long as we are conscious of it. If transferring peas one at a time from one plate to another and then back again makes you consciously happy, so be it. Just try not to sleepwalk around while time passes you by.
The past becomes more significant in The Plague once Oran’s gates are closed; the citizens have more time to dwell on regret and they turn to their memories to ease the pain of the present.
The past becomes less significant in The Plague once Oran’s gates are closed; the citizens, consumed with the suffering of the present and the fear of the future have no time for memories of the past.