Holden and Stradlater get into a quarrel because Stradlater has a date with Jane Gallagher. They also argue because Stradlater acts arrogant and demands Holden to complete his English composition when Stradlater is on a date with Jane. This causes them to fight which leads to the death of Holden.
Holden punches Stradlater in the face because Stradlater insulted Jane by saying that she was nothing special and that he would be better off going out with someone else instead of wasting his time on her. At first, Stradlater doesn't take it too seriously but when Holden continues to insult him, he gets angry and fights back.
Holden dies due to multiple skull fractures. He probably didn't even know what happened until the police arrived at the scene. Stradlater claims that he did not mean to kill Holden but states that he should be the one who gets arrested since he was the one who started the fight. However, the police decide not to arrest Stradlater because they believe that he acted in self-defense.
What makes Holden so concerned about Stradlater's rendezvous with Jane? He doesn't want Stradlater to know who he is. He is concerned that Stradlater may embarrass himself. He's concerned that he won't be able to say goodbye to Stradlater. He's also concerned that if Stradlater tells anyone about their meeting, it might hurt his reputation as a reliable source of information.
Holden has been keeping tabs on Stradlater for quite some time. He knows that Stradlater is looking for old motorcycles and that he will not rest until he finds them. When Stradlater calls him several times without success, Holden becomes worried that something has happened to him. He decides to go to Stradlater's house in California to see what has become of him.
Upon arriving at Stradlater's house, Holden sees that there are no signs of life anywhere inside the house. He thinks maybe Stradlater has found another old motorcycle and left town. However, when Holden walks outside, he sees a note attached to the front door that says "Sorry I missed you." This makes Holden feel better knowing that Stradlater is okay and just busy with other things. He goes back home satisfied that everything is fine.
However, this isn't the end of Holden's worries about Stradlater.
Because Stradlater was being ungrateful, Holden tore up the composition and threw it away. He was upset because it was written about a baseball glove rather than a room or a house. Stradlater irritated Holden because he refused to inform him about his rendezvous with Jane.
Holden fell in love with Jane when she arrived in New York City. He wanted to marry her, but she did not want to leave her family behind. Eventually, she agreed to marry Stradlater instead. When Holden found out about the wedding, he became furious and decided to take revenge on Stradlater by writing a musical about his life.
Stradlater didn't like this at all and tried to stop Holden from performing the play, but without success. When the play was finally opened up in New York City, Stradlater came to see it with Jane. That is how they discovered that Holden had torn up the composition and thrown it away. Angry and disappointed, they went their separate ways.
Holden then started working on another musical which was going to be about a girl named Mary who lived in a small town in Connecticut. She had an amazing voice so Holden decided to use it as the basis for his next work. However, before he could finish it, he died of tuberculosis...
How does Holden respond to Stradlater's compositional criticism? He rips it up and tosses it aside. Holden inquires about his date with Jane, and Stradlater smiles and suggests that he at least kissed her. This makes Holden furious and he attacks Stradlater with a brick, killing him.
He throws the brick into the lake and it lands in the water. The next day at school, Holden is met with more criticism from Mr. Stradlater for his essay. In response, he tears up his essay and throws it away. Moments later, Jane arrives at Holden's house with a picnic lunch for them to eat on the porch. As they talk, Holden notices that someone is watching them from across the lake. It is Mr. Stradlater who has followed him home!
He tells Jane that she should go back home because he has something to tell her father. As Jane walks off, Stradlater approaches Holden and asks him why he killed him. Holden replies that he didn't want to but had no choice. Stradlater says that it was wrong of him to criticize Holden's essay and that he is sorry for what happened to him. Then he walks off into the woods.
Holden goes inside and calls Jane's cell phone but there is no answer. He gets upset and wonders where she is.