The Black Monk

Can someone explain what this story means ?

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Our main character is a philosophy student by the name of Kovrin; he is mentally unstable at the story's opening and in peril of experiencing a complete breakdown. His doctor advises him to rest, and in total compliance he leaves to visit his childhood friend Tanya at her family home.

Kovrin then goes on to recount the tale of the black monk for his friend, a story of a monk from the desert who has appeared in apparitions for centuries. It is rumored that he will one day return. Later, the monk appears to him in the garden, and even though Kovrin knows he's not real he visits with him regularly.

Eventually, Kovrin proposes to Tanya who accepts and marries him shortly after. They move into the city, but Kovrin's "friend" continues to visit him and he reaches a point where he can't distinguish between what's real and hallucination. He agrees to medical treatment and evidently is cured, but along with the sure he loses all will to live life and any sense of creativity he'd formerly possessed.

His newfound sense of dimmed reality exposes other things as well. His marriage has become a lie; love had made them man and wife, but hatred soon parted the two, and Tanya then returned home to her father's house. His work led to the offer of teaching, something he was never able to do because of illness. In the end, he begins to hemorrhage from the lungs and dies, but not before seeing the monk just one last time.


The Black Monk