From The Crucible, what is the literary device present in the section below?
As Hale is about to leave, Giles Corey and Francis Nurse enter. Their wives have been arrested. Francis Nurse beseeches, "My wife is the very brick and mortar of the church."
The literary device used from this selection from Arthur Miller's The Crucible is a metaphor.
A metaphor is an analogy between two objects or ideas, conveyed by the use of a word instead of another.
The metaphor occurs in the quotation of the final sentence: Francis Nurse beseeches, " 'My wife is the very brick and mortar of the church.' " The metaphor actually works on two levels. The author is comparing the wife to the foundation of the church: She is solid and firm. Additionally, Francis Nurse knows that his wife is a moral and spiritual woman--devout and highly religious. Had Miller chosen to use the word "like" ("My wife is like the very brick and mortar of the church"), it would have reverted to a simile.
There are several literary devices that may be considered when analyzing this quote.
The statement is a metaphor. A metaphor compares two unlike objects to emphasize meaning and understanding. By calling his wife "brick" and "mortar" of the church, he is comparing her to the structure of the church. You may also analyze the diction by considering Miller's word choice by stating "brick" and "mortar." One usually refers to another as being the "foundation" of something, but Miller specifically uses "brick" and "mortar" to emphasize the connotation that his wife is literally the pieces of the church, and the glue that holds it together; she is the physical structure that keeps everything in - or out.