The Black Monk Literary Elements

The Black Monk Literary Elements


Psychological novel, mystic

Setting and Context

Approximately the end of the 19th century, Imperial Russia

Narrator and Point of View

Here we see the third-person narration, but sometimes the narrator is Kovrin himself.

Tone and Mood

The novel is built on the contrasts: beginning with the description of the gray Pesotskiy house and bright green garden and ending with full of energy and ideas Kovrin and Tania, quiet and endlessly cheerless. The mood is changing from joyful to sad till the end of the story.

Protagonist and Antagonist

The protagonist is Kovrin and the antagonist is the Black Monk.

Major Conflict

The main struggle is between Kovrin and the Black Monk, who always tried to impose him mad ideas and ideals.


The “deciding point” in the story is when Kovrin meets The Black Monk. From the very this moment the main and the most important changes take place.


The author warns us not to undergo the mad ideas and stereotypes, always think before choosing between the real values, such as family, close people, and phantom ones: illusions. These illusions of Kovrin predict his destiny devoided of love and happiness.






The author uses imagery especially focusing on nature descriptions. And these descriptions help to understand those inner changes the main character is going through, they reflect in his perceivability of the outer world and their echo in his madness.


“The more intellectually and morally a man developed, the more independent he is, the more pleasure he finds in his life.” – The Black Monk. The paradox stands in the fact that Kovrin was very smart and wise man, but at the same time – dreadfully unhappy.


The author uses this method to show the interrelation and interplay between Kovrin’s everyday life and his relations with The Black Monk.

Metonymy and Synecdoche

Chekhov often uses these methods: “Owners’ yearning reflected in the whole house.”, “He heard a faint voice in response to him from behind the door…” etc. In first example the author uses metonymy to show that only the owners are important in his narration. As for the second example, Chekhov wants to highlight Tania’s greyness and obscureness in such a way.


The garden is shown in the story in such a way, that it seems to be alive, a kind of a living creature, who breathes, thinks, feels and has an ability to be faithful to someone.

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