What is one of your favorite literary devices? Why do you like it? Provide a definition and an awesome example.
While I'm a big ol' fan of malapropism, I'm going to have to be lame and pick characterization in order to talk about what I want to talk about. For those somehow unaware of what it is, it's "the method used by a writer to develop a character. The method includes (1) showing the character's appearance, (2) displaying the character's actions, (3) revealing the character's thoughts, (4) letting the character speak, and (5) getting the reactions of others."
My favorite thing in all literature is when a seemingly stoic, impenetrable character suddenly cracks and we see a breakdown, revealing her humanity. It. Is. Awesome. My first memory of reading this and loving it is Dorothea in Middlemarch (avast, all ye, for spoilers be lyin' ahead). For almost all of that rather long novel, she's calm and in control. She knows exactly what she wants for her life and she is sure of her steps all the time.
AND THEN SHE SEES ROSAMOND MAYBE LOCKED IN AN EMBRACE WITH WILL AND SHE IS DISTRAUGHT
Oh, how she is distraught. It's fantastic.
There's something vaguely similar in Adam Bede, also by George Eliot, for she is the queen of 19th c. fanfic. It also happens in Robert Jordan's book Eye of the World when Moiraine, kickass Aes Sedai, starts screaming. I read that in high school and I froze when I read it, because nothing makes Moiraine scream. NOTHING, I SAY!
Screw plot and give me characterization any day.