What was the fight between Stradlater and Holden really about in The Catcher in the Rye?

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In chapter six, Stradlater returns from his date with Jane Gallagher, and Holden incessantly asks him rude questions regarding their date. After Holden asks his roommate if he "gave Jane the time" in Ed Banky's car, Stradlater refuses to answer his question and Holden suddenly attacks him. Holden's brash decision to attack Stradlater is a result of his pent-up anxiety and anger. Holden genuinely cares about Jane Gallagher and is disgusted by the idea that Stradlater would make sexual advances towards her. Holden feels the responsibility to protect Jane's honor from a "secret slob" like Stradlater, who he knows is much more sexually experienced than him.

Holden's assumed responsibility to protect Jane reflects his desire to prevent adolescents from entering the corrupt world of adults. Essentially, he fears that Jane would be taking a significant step towards adulthood by being intimate with Stradlater, which is something Holden desperately wishes to prevent. Holden's violent reaction is...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 579 words.)

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