That's a plague mask, from long ago - you were supposed to wear it if you were a doctor. I guess they figured the plague couldn't find it's way down that gynormous nose. Need I even mention the resemblance to Spy vs. Spy.
See, the thing about this book is I didn't like, because it was boring. I mean, it wasn't that the subject matter was boring, but... well... it was like reading a very old research paper. Right down to the part where in research papers the kid often tries the old 'say the same thing in five idfferent ways' trick. It's a lot like that. Daniel Defoe, you know. Great writer and all that. Only, not for research papers.
At the same time, I'm a little ashamed to not like it, because I really can imagine a story about the plague, that wasn't some other story just set in the plague, being engrossing. Only, it would be sort of... I dunno. Tasteless. Splatter-lit. You know. You could write a great 'its a horror story only it's real!' on the plague. And it's a little sad to realize that part of you would LOVE that. And then you just sort of feel bad, like, these were real people dying, and I just get bored hearing about it.
On the bright side, I did learn a great deal, and now that I'm THROUGH the book, I feel like I actually know what hte plague was like, rather than what its like in a horror movie. Which is cool. Only, nobody in the book wore this wicked mask, and that's a little dissapointing. Not that I liked it in Beetlejuice, it just looked cheesy, but I have the feeling that there is potential in that pointy nose...