Avoidance is lush, distraction is fruitful, it is not a passive or evasive thing in Powys, nor when Countess Gertrude Groan in Peake thinks about the advice she will give her son Titus; she will tell him to sustain himself with an internal dream.
As I was writing "with an internal dream" I felt myself tracing over the words of millions of inspirational books, the ones that say, "Hold onto your dream," or "Follow your dream" or "Keep your dreams alive," which is what Gertrude will advise her son to do, and yet it is not the same, because the inspirational quote books are imagining that the dream will lead you to a useful or externally fruitful and successful end point, the one known as Movie Star, or Athlete or Scholar or Small Business Owner, or some other net result at the culmination of a purpose.
Whereas Gertrude's dream and the daydreams in Powys are sustanence in themselves. They are a loam that sustains life, and for which life is sustained.
The inspirational books' point of view is not strictly recent. Even in Dickens it is triumphant if your dreams sustain you until you are a District Magistrate in Port Middlebay and pitiful if they sustain you in an attic above an alcoholic combustible.
The inspirational dream pertains, I think, in places where a progress up through the ranks is seen to be possible or necessary or desirable and all persons are neighbours to an aspiration.
In Peake the nonprogression is part of the society and in Powys it is due to the characters' own truculent or confused natures.
"Truculence" says Geoffrey Hill in one of his Oxford lectures (maybe The Democracy of the Dead), is a word that he loves. Truculence is not insolence, he says. The people in Gormenghast expect their fellow citizens to be truculent, and to hold their truculent personalities steady and unchanging.
Which behaviour Powys perceives as an explosive force:
We must, in fact, "in spite" of both old-fashioned and new-fashioned experts, embrace the ridiculous self-love and the physically funny ways of our elders and betters to such a point of humorous intensity that we end by stirring up what Heine calls "the Atistophanic spirit of world-destruction" and although we only do this from the simmering gallipots of our domestic suppressions, the thing swells and swells and swells until it spreads over all of the earth and all of the sky that we can catch from our parlour window, and the destructive enjoyment of Aristophanes coalesces with the creative enjoyment of Rabelais.
(In Spite Of: a Philosophy for Everyman)
So that a tight confinement, managed correctly, might bring you to a Nietzchean joy.