And while theses more often than not consist of a single sentence, sometimes a thesis statement takes up two sentences or more.
So let's ask a different question: what does make a thesis a thesis? A thesis: This is the biggest, most important thing that the thesis does.
Analytical essays provide an analysis of an issue or issues, breaking them down into their individual parts and presenting that analysis to the reader.
Here's an example of the kind of assignment that would prompt you to write an analytical paper: Analyze the relationship between the Wicked Witch of the West and her flying monkeys in the Wizard of Oz.
The second time you read, you can then compare what the thesis statement said the essay was about to your thoughts about the essay's meaning. Take notes along the way about what you think the essay is trying to say about a particular subject, issue or event.
These notes should be related to the big-picture meaning, not of specific passages.
Write a brief paragraph describing the main purpose or objective of the essay.
Use the notes you took to back up why you think what you've written is the meaning.
For example, 'I believe in the Loch Ness Monster based on supporting historical evidence, but largely because I watched it eat my grandfather's hat.' That's a thesis statement. But most are, and therefore most require thesis statements.
When there isn't a prompt involved, the thesis is answering the writer's own question that she poses for herself, which she turns into an argument for the reader (which is to say, if you decided to write an essay about why you believe in the Loch Ness Monster, the answer to the question of whether you believe in it is already embedded in your thesis). Let's take a look at the kinds of essays that do and those that don't.