In "1984", how does Winston react to the note from Julia before he reads it?
Winston feels confused when Julia slips him the note in the corridor. He at first believed that Julia was an enemy out to kill him and even thought of bashing her head in and killing her when he felt she was following him through the streets in Part I, chapter 8.
However, now, seeing her struggle to rise from her fall in the hallway due to her arm being in a sling, he views her as a human being in need.
Mistrust and fear cause Winston to at first hesitate to help Julia rise from the ground. It is Winston's need for connection that ultimately drives him to help her from the floor and thus receive the note she slips in his hand.
His initial reaction is distrust. It seems odd to him that a woman such as her would even know or care he existed. Therefore, he had to wonder what was her motive? Was someone out to get him? Did someone set it up so they would meet? This book shows paranoia to the extreme though this paranoia is justified. When he finally does decide to read it, he has to read it in private and dispose of the letter. This further demonstrates his fear.