These two short stories are wildly different from each other in both tone and plot. In order to avoid doing the entire assignment for you, I will discuss the primary differences only.
In “The Tell-Tale Heart,” the unnamed narrator recounts in past tense the chronological, linear plot of how he murdered his landlord and was subsequently caught for his crime. This means that the plot is conventional in structure. It has a clear exposition (the narrator explains he is not mad), climax (ticking sound), and resolution (tearing up the floorboards).
Woolf’s “A Haunted House,” however, does not have a traditional plot structure. In fact, Woolf’s story lacks any recognizable plot, and it reads like a montage of images instead. There are no major events, and there is there no particular character development like there is in Poe’s story. The effect of this is disorienting for the reader, because it requires one to piece together details in order to understand the meaning of the story.
Now, looking at the tone of each story, one must examine the author’s attitude toward the subject. To ascertain this, it is best to look at the connotations of the diction used. Poe’s tone is ominous and manic. The narrator’s apparent mental disturbance is reflected in the first paragraph with words like “dreadfully,” “nervous,” and “hearken.” In context, the rapid succession of the narrator’s thoughts using negative words underscores his manic tone. In addition, the use of punctuation, including exclamation points and dashes, indicates an excited mental state in which the narrator interrupts himself frequently. This tone only intensifies as the story progresses.
In contrast, Woolf’s tone in “A Haunted House” is somewhat ambiguous. For the first several paragraphs, the neutral diction and lack of details establishes a narrative ambivalence. Then, the tone becomes nearly inscrutable, with phrases like “my hands were empty” and multiple quotations with no clear speaker. This neutral yet mystifying tone mirrors the narrator’s experience of her dream.
Ultimately, these stories are divergent in plot structure, tone, and even style.