Shades of Gray: The Introduction of Walter Harrison Walter Harrison is a twenty something owner of an apartment building, Harrison's Palace, which he inherited from his father, as a patronizing gift to remind Walter of the disappointment he has become. Walter carries the burden of feeling ostracized by his fellow African Americans and internalizes a toxic combination of anger, self-pity, and resentment towards black people. Walter views himself as a victim of racism from his own people, but his self-indulgence of sorrow does not permit him to see that his tormentors are also victims of racism. Convinced he will never find acceptance from African Americans, Walter forces himself to find love and acceptance outside of his race, to the dismay of those around him. The simultaneous abandonment of his parents and his first love drive Walter to the brink of madness. As he struggles to get his life in order, the shocking suicide of his tenant, and mirror-image, James Saint, another black male coping with loneliness, threatens to unravel Walter all over again.
Shades of Gray: The Introduction of Walter Harrison is a colorful and honest representation of how mental slavery affects the lives of African American men. The 95,000 word novel focuses on the life of Walter Harrison and his curiosity with his tenant, James Saint.
One of the unfortunate consequences of American slavery is the that the spirit of Africans and their descendants had to be broken in order for the system to flourish. The stigma of slavery manifests itself daily in the minds, words, and actions of African Americans. Like many, Walter fails to recognize the connection between his predicament and the plight of his people. Walter's obsession with how his life and the life of James intertwine, through the reading of James' diary, lead Walter to discover he and James are closer than he realized.