Name: Jessica Ramey
Using the MLA database:
Be sure that you are using the ADVANCED search screen.
You will initially be looking for what has been written about a specific literary work, so you should have the name of the literary work in quotes in the first box and the last name of the author in the box below it. Change the drop down boxes to the right to read Subject heading.
It is tempting to change the boxes on the right to Author and Document Title or Publication Title. DO NOT NOT NOT DO THIS!!!!!!! Those labels are reserved for the titles and authors of the critical materials (articles, dissertations, book chapters) in MLA, NOT for the literary work about which you are seeking criticism.
There are a great many interesting, but difficult to obtain, types of materials in MLA. To make your life easier, for academic assignments start by limiting to Peer-Reviewed, Journal Articles in English and see if that will provide you with what you need. If not, you can expand your search later.