Frankenstein Chapter 4
Frankenstein became an ardent student of chemistry and anatomy in his quest to determine what gives life. After two years of study at Ingolstadt, he considered returning home because his studies were so advanced that he couldn't progress any further at the college. But before he planned his trip home, Frankenstein discovered the essence of life, which he refuses to reveal to Walton because he doesn't want Walton to follow his poor example. He said,
"Learn from me, if not by my precepts, at least by my example, how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow." Chapter 4, pg. 38
After Frankenstein figured out what gives life, he experimented with creating a human being. He constructed a giant man, 8 feet tall with superhuman strength and endurance, from harvested body parts that he took from corpses. He worked secretly and without rest for almost a year, during which time his correspondence with his family and friends stopped. His health began to decline from the constant labor, little rest, poor diet, and lack of exercise, but he refused to stop working until his project was finished.