A theme statement simplifies the meaning of a piece of literature into a single sentenced. It offers a clear and simple interpretation that is summarized concisely. Theme statements need to be general enough to encapsulate the whole work, but specific enough to communicate a unique interpretation.
A theme statement is not a phrase like "love and war" or a summary like "Matilda learns to dance." It also should not begin with "The theme is." Instead, it should be a concise description of the overall meaning of the work. An example of a proper theme statement is "Birth is one of the most dramatic events in life because it is filled with pain, love and sometimes even regret."