Slowly children learn to react to symbols, By age seven a child can symbolically transform the contents of his mind. This happened through experience with the world.
Children ages 11-14 are usually capable of logical thinking with abstractions. Thinking of the hypothetical-deductive type is possible. He can draw conclusions, offer interpretations, and develop hypotheses.
Many times writers do not say exactly what they mean. Rather, they approach a subject in an indirect manner by using symbols and/or parables to stimulate readers to draw their own conclusions. To reflect on a character in an abstract manner can prompt a child to see the significance of that character.