In chapter 8 of Ken Kesey's One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, Randle McMurphy manipulates Doctor Spivey by getting the doctor to propose changes to the ward that McMurphy desires himself. Specifically, McMurphy wants to be able to get away from the radio that is played on the ward at high volumes at all times while the patients are awake. The noise is annoying. For instance, one evening when McMurphy is playing cards with Harding, McMurphy complains about the radio. McMurphy says,
That damned radio. Boy. It’s been going ever since I come in this morning. And don’t come on with some baloney that you don’t hear it.
McMurphy wants to escape from the noise, and he would also appreciate having another day room. When “the Big Nurse” is about to end the ward meeting, McMurphy raises his hand to discuss one more point. However, when she calls on him, McMurphy says,
Not me, Doctor Spivey has. Doc, tell ’em what you come up with about the hard-of-hearing guys and the radio.
It is obvious that the nurse is unhappy about how McMurphy seems to be hijacking the meeting, but she does not have the authority to ignore Doctor Spivey and must allow him to speak. From his remarks, it is clear that McMurphy has gotten the doctor to unwittingly request a change that McMurphy wants implemented. Doctor Spivey says,
In our talk, however, McMurphy and I did happen to come up with an idea which might make things more pleasant for both age groups. McMurphy mentioned that he had noticed some of the old fellows seemed to have difficulty hearing the radio. He suggested the speaker might be turned up louder so the Chronics with auditory weaknesses could hear it. A very humane suggestion, I think.
The reader knows that McMurphy does not want the radio louder. He wants it lower or turned off completely. We know this because of the remarks he made to Harding. However, by having Doctor Spivey request that the volume on the radio be turned up so that the geriatric patients can hear it, McMurphy obtains a separate recreation room for the younger patients who want to avoid the radio.
Doctor Spivey continues,
But I told him I had received previous complaints from some of the younger men that the radio is already so loud it hinders conversation and reading. McMurphy said he hadn’t thought of this.
We know that McMurphy had thought of this because the radio was deafening when he was playing cards and it made it difficult for him to concentrate. Therefore, McMurphy was able to manipulate Doctor Spivey successfully. As he told Harding earlier,
The secret of being a top-notch con man is being able to know what the mark wants, and how to make him think he’s getting it.