What’s happening at the Library: Jekyll and Hyde

Published 12:30 pm Tuesday, November 14, 2023

By James Gardner

Clark County Public Library

Many explorers and adventurers have gone to the tops of mountains, the depths of the ocean, and even into orbit around our modest blue marble. Exploring anywhere has its own set of risks, from inhospitable climates to hungry and carnivorous wildlife. While perhaps not life-threatening, there are risks when we turn that need to explore inward, seeing what mindscapes and motivations make up one of the most mentally complex species: humans. Exploring the inner world of one’s brain doesn’t typically involve canoes or camping gear.

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Often, the vehicles we use to explore our inner worlds are the stories we read and tell ourselves, and one of the most compelling stories that explores the mental makeup of humanity is “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” (Fantastic F Stev). This tale is written by Robert Louis Stevenson, whose birthday is this week, and will be discussed for this month’s Book Brunch from Beyond, meeting this Saturday, Nov. 18, at 10 a.m.

At the risk of bragging about my book-choosing skills, I picked an excellent book to discuss. Many are familiar with the story of a scientist who drinks a chemical that creates an evil alter ego. It’s a well-known story that’s been retold in books and movies and has stuck around pop culture because it discusses the duality in human nature. It’s a duality we see every day simply by observing humanity. In one day, we can see one person who appears benevolent and generous and, on that same day, see someone else be wholly selfish and amoral. Sadly, there are even moments where we see this duality in one individual. In his most well-known work, Stevenson seems to say that maintaining our virtue is a continuous struggle when another part of us is quite willing to revel in vice. We want to be generous when there’s an urge to hoard what we have. We try to forgive when something inside us can’t let go of our anger. In Mr. Hyde, Dr. Jekyll thought he had an avatar that he could use to act on his worst impulses, the way some might consider an online avatar or anonymous chat. Still, Mr. Hyde’s run-amok has consequences for Jekyll and everyone else. Just like there are consequences, should we let our own Hydes run free?

Christmas is coming, and Santa always has room on the naughty list.

Stay good, everyone, and check out these library programs:

• On Tuesday, Nov. 14, at 6 p.m., Ron Kibbey’s Comedy Classics features a madcap movie starring Jack Lemmon and Ernie Kovacs. Private Hogan must raise his ability to scheme and plot to a new level to put on a madcap dance to celebrate the closing of an Army surgical hospital in post-WWII France while evading the stickler-for-details Captain Locke – and win the heart of the beautiful nurse Lieutenant Betty Bixby. Popcorn and snacks will be provided.

• On Wednesday, Nov. 15, at 2 p.m., the Kentucky Picture Show will feature a Thanksgiving comedy starring Mia Farrow and Woody Allen. Between two Thanksgivings two years apart, Hannah’s husband falls in love with her sister Lee, while her hypochondriac ex-husband rekindles his relationship with her sister Holly. Rated PG-13. Popcorn and snacks provided.

• On Thursday, Nov. 16, at 2:30 p.m., Paint with Sher gives people the opportunity to paint a poinsettia. To do this fun and relaxing holiday craft, please register through Evanced or call the library at 744-5661 since space is limited.

• On Saturday, Nov. 18, from 2 to 4 p.m., Winchester Fiber Artists invite fellow fiber artists to bring a project to work on. All fiber arts are welcome, including crochet, spinning, needlepoint, embroidery, cross stitch, quilting, weaving, rug hooking, etc.

• And remember about Book Brunch from Beyond, which is meeting this Saturday, Nov. 18, at 10 a.m. Both ebook and audiobook formats are available on Hoopla. You might even have a halfway decent time!(that joke was perhaps both good and evil)