In The Catcher in the Rye, there are many instances of violence perpetrated by and against Holden. One of the critical cases is not a scene in the book but told in summary by Holden about his past.
Throughout the story, Holden continues to come back to the story of his brother, Allie. Allie was Holden’s younger brother who died of leukemia years before. Holden has idealized Allie in his head, talking about how he was the best and kindest of his family members and seeing Allie as virtually perfect.
One of Holden’s only violent episodes happens on the night that Allie died. Holden recounts the story in the novel,
I was only thirteen, and they were going to have my psychoanalyzed and all, because I broke all the windows in the garage. I don't blame them. I really don't. I slept in the garage the night he died, and I broke all the goddam windows with my fist, just for the hell of it. I even tried to break all the windows on the station wagon we had that summer, but my hand was already broken and everything by that time, and I couldn't do it. It was a very stupid thing to do, I'll admit, but I hardly didn't even know I was doing it, and you didn't know Allie. (Chapter 5)
Holden smashes the windows in the garage with his bare hands—he is so upset that he breaks his hand in the violent episode. This story, told in summary, is essential because it shows how adolescents deal with broader issues like death and loss with violence. Holden has to be psychoanalyzed after the breakdown because he was so violent that he broke his hand.
This isn’t the same as his violence against Stradler later in the novel, because that is him fighting back against injustice and a bully. The breaking of the windows is a different type of uncontrollable violence that comes out of the emotional strain of youth dealing with loss. The episode with the windows helps us understand Holden through the rest of the novel—his depression, his dislike to other people, and his constant conversation and focus on his brother. Holden is dealing with grief through the story, and one way he does that is by violence.